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Another new coronavirus variant seen in the UK - Scientists




Scientists have identified another new variant of coronavirus in the UK with some potentially troubling mutations.

B.1.525 appears similar to the South African variant which prompted door-to-door tests in areas where it has been found.

Researchers from Edinburgh University have found 38 cases so far - 2 in Wales and 36 in England - in samples dating back to December.

It has been seen in other countries, including Denmark, Nigeria and the US.

UK experts are studying it to understand what risk it poses.

It is too soon to say if it should be added to the UK's list of "variants of concern" and whether mass testing for it should happen. So, for now, it is a "variant under investigation".

Prof Ravi Gupta, from the University of Cambridge, is one of the scientists advising the government on new and emerging virus threats.

He said B.1.525 appeared to have "significant mutations" already seen in some of the other new variants.

"That is partly reassuring because we can predict what their likely effect is."

Prof Yvonne Doyle from Public Health England (PHE) said: "PHE is monitoring data about emerging variants very closely and where necessary public health interventions are being undertaken, such as extra testing and enhanced contact tracing.

"There is currently no evidence that this set of mutations causes more severe illness or increased transmissibility." BBC

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