UK Researchers Discover New COVID-19 Strain

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Ikenna Atanah

Researchers in Britain have identified a new COVID-19 variant with potential mutations.

B.1.525 was discovered in the UK and Nigeria in December.

The strain appears to the similar to the South African variant; which has prompted door-to-door tests in areas where it has been found, the BBC reports.

The B.1.525 COVID-19 strain has a mutation called E484K that may help the virus slip past some of the body’s immune system defences. This mutation is also found in the Brazil and South African variants.

The variant has since also been found in Australia, Denmark, the US, Canada, France, Ghana, Jordan; as well as Singapore, Finland, Belgium and Spain.

Experts are studying the new strain to understand its risks.

The UK government said on Sunday that it reached its goal of giving at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot to the most vulnerable people in the country; increasing pressure on ministers to clarify when they will ease a lockdown imposed in early January.

Some 15 million people, or 22 per cent of the UK population, have received their first shot or were offered one.

The figure includes most people in the government’s top four priority groups; including everyone over 75, frontline healthcare workers and nursing home staff.

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