(Al Jazeera) A highly infectious variant of COVID-19 first discovered in the United Kingdom is between 30 to 100 percent more deadly than previous strains, researchers have said.
In a study that compared death rates among people in the UK infected with the variant known as B.1.1.7 with those infected with other strains, scientists said the new strain had “significantly higher” mortality.
Published in the British Medical Journal on Wednesday, the UK study revealed infection with what is commonly known as the “UK variant” led to 227 deaths in a sample of 54,906 COVID-19 patients, compared with 141 among the same number of patients infected with other variants.
“Coupled with its ability to spread rapidly, this makes B.1.1.7 a threat that should be taken seriously,” said Robert Challen, a researcher at Exeter University who co-led the research.
B.1.1.7 was first detected in the English county of Kent in September 2020 and has since become the dominant strain in the UK.