A study done by United Kingdom-based government agency, Public Health England, showed that the new coronavirus variant does not seem to cause more severe illness than other types. It can however, spread faster.
Researchers compared 1,769 individuals who were sick with the variant, with the same number of people infected with what was called “wild type” strain. They were matched based on age, sex, area of residence and time of testing.
Forty-two were admitted to the hospital: 16 contracted the new variant, while 26 contracted the wild type. Of these cases, 12 cases were caused by the variant and 10 were caused by the wild type.
There was no statistically significant difference in hospitalization as well as 28-day case fatality among the cases. The study also noted that the proportion of contacts of confirmed cases which caught the disease was higher in people infected with the new variant.
The new coronavirus variant was first detected in England in mid-December causing 40 nations—including Canada, China, Brazil, France and Hong Kong—to close their borders to travelers from the UK, the Philippines among them.
Other countries have also reported having the new variants, such as Denmark, Australia, Italy, Iceland and the Netherlands.
The UK itself announced a lockdown last Saturday.