A brand new coronavirus variant found within the United Kingdom is now making its rounds within the U.S., with the B.1.1.7 variant most lately recognized in New York in a person who has no current journey historical past.
The variant is claimed to be extra transmissible than COVID-19 — although as of now, it’s not regarded as extra virulent or immune to vaccines and remedy. That stated, a brand new examine suggests who could also be most in danger for contracting B.1.1.7: Those beneath 20 years of age.
The examine, which was carried out by researchers at Imperial College London and others and has not but been peer-reviewed, discovered that these beneath 20 years of age usually tend to make up a better share of B.1.1.7 circumstances — or what’s recognized within the examine because the “Variant of Concern” or VOC.
Available knowledge signifies “a shift in the age composition of reported cases, with a larger share of under 20-year-olds among reported VOC than non-VOC cases,” per the examine.
However, the researchers stated that it’s too quickly to find out the “mechanism behind this change,” noting that it may have already been influenced, partially, by “the variants spread coinciding with a period where lockdown was in force but schools were open.”
“Further research is ongoing on the specific nature of any changes in how the virus affects this age group,” famous a press launch on the findings.
Unlike COVID-19, the B.1.1.7 could also be extra more likely to infect kids, suggests the examine, which echoes considerations expressed by Professor Neil Ferguson, a scientist at Imperial College London and a examine writer, in December.
At the time, Ferguson warned that early evaluation “hints that it has a higher propensity to infect children.”
“If it were true, then this might explain a significant proportion, maybe even the majority, of the transmission increase seen,” he added, per the BBC.
The Imperial College London examine additionally estimated the replica quantity (R0) of the brand new variant to be between 1.4 and 1.8.
“These analyses, which have informed UK government planning in recent weeks, show that the new variant of concern, B.1.1.7, has substantially higher transmissibility than previous SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in the U.K.,” stated Ferguson in a press release. “This will make control more difficult and further accentuates the urgency of rolling out vaccination as quickly as possible.”
“All viruses evolve, and very rarely a virus will change in a way that requires us to re-evaluate public health policy,” added Dr. Erik Volz, a scientist at Imperial College London and one of many examine authors, in a press release. “We find overwhelming evidence of a change in transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant that should be taken into account when planning our COVID-19 response in the new year.”
Fox News’ Kayla Rivas contributed to this report.