According to the latest information coming out of BBC Newscast podcast, the dominant Coronavirus Strain dubbed, “Coronavirus Kent”, ravaging across London, UK will likely spread across the world as well.
The concerning prediction was put forwards by Prof. Sharon Peacock, a British Microbiologist, director of the Covid-19 Genomics UK consortium working on sequencing different coronavirus strains with her team.
The Kent coronavirus strain seems more transmissible than the previous ones which could prove to be a hurdle in vaccinating million UK citizens.
This past week, Prime Minister Borish Johnson has urged the two million people who are yet to be vaccinated, to take up the Covid jab.
How Is Coronavirus Kent Different And Should You Worry?
The “Coronavirus Kent” was first spotted in September 2020 and has swept the United Kingdom. It has already been detected in more than 50 countries, including India. And according to researchers, the central concerning aspect of the new strain is its high transmissibility.
Current vaccines designed according to an older strain may provide protection against the new coronavirus, but they won’t be as effective, researchers speculate.
However, there is no proof that this new strain is any more deadly or as deadly as the current one. Furthermore, the UK went into strict lockdown starting in January 2021 following the virus’s spread since September 2020.
As the virus keeps on mutating, Prof. Peacock and her team’s task becomes an ever-present battle as they have to keep sequencing the new genome to find its characteristics.
Viruses mutate all the time and changes that make them highly transmissible, vaccine-proof or more virulent are rare.
Another similar strain of the highly transmissible virus was spotted in South Africa some time ago. However, according to WHO’s Director of immunization Dr Katherin O’ Brien, that current vaccines could still work to curb its spread. She further elaborated that the South African study of the virus was “inconclusive.”
She says that Oxford jab is still “plausible” to protect against the new strain in South Africa. However, Oxford vaccine still has its own issues. Due to lack of data, it is not clear how it should be administered to the older population and how far apart the doses should be.
“Once we get on top of [the virus] or it mutates itself out of being virulent – causing disease – then we can stop worrying about it. But I think, looking in the future, we’re going to be doing this for years. We’re still going to be doing this 10 years down the line, in my view,” said Prof. Peacock
The pandemic won’t last for 10 years, she clarified, but she’d have to keep sequencing new strains for an extended period of time. Probably around 10 years, according to the Professor.