Covid-19 Variant Emerges
14th December 2020
SARS-Cov-2 Variant 20A.EU1
A new variant of Covid-19 has been identified which appears to have originated in farm workers in Spain and is now spreading through Europe. The full paper on this variant will be formally published on Thursday but can be downloaded below. The variant is termed SARS-Cov-2 variant 20A.EU1 . We do not as yet know what the implications of this variant. “From the spread of 20A.EU1, it seems clear that the measures in place were often not sufficient to stop onward transmission of introduced variants this summer,” said Emma Hodcroft an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Basel and lead author of the study that is yet to be published. The variant appears to have originated in Spain and now appears to be spreading rapidly in London and the south-east. The authors of this paper have reasssuringly stated that they do not believe that this variant has a transmission advantage compared to the wild type virus. They believe that the increased prevalence is purely as a result of epidemiological factors.
We do not at this moment in time know the impact of this mutation on the effectiveness of the current coronavirus vaccines that are avaialable but particulalrly with the mRNA vaccines, it will be realtively easy for us to adapt the vaccines to this new variant if that is necessary.
Overall I think that we do not need to worry too much about this new variant but we do need to continue to behave in a way that minimises virus transmission.
The full paper can be read here: Full paper
Dr Tim Ubhi