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UK variant of coronavirus could become dominant strain

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The strain of coronavirus found in the UK is expected to become the most dominant in the world, according to scientists.

The strain of coronavirus found in the UK is expected to become the most dominant in the world, according to scientists.

The COVID-19 variant, first discovered in Kent in England's southeast, has so far been detected in people in 50 countries, and is expected to take over as the most dominant, the BBC reported.

Professor Sharon Peacock told the BBC's Newscast podcast the new variant has "swept the country" and "it's going to sweep the world, in all probability".

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The variant was found last September but quickly spread.

Scientists believe it is more transmissible, and could be more deadly.

Professor Peacock, who is director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium, told the BBC: "What's really affected us at the moment is transmissibility."

She said the virus will continue to mutate for years.

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"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.

"We're still going to be doing this 10 years down the line, in my view," she said.

Last month, British government's chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance there is evidence that there is an "increased risk for those who have the new variant" - though he stressed that the data is uncertain.

He said that for a man in his 60s with the original version of the virus, "the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die".

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"With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die," he said.

A South African strain of the virus is also believed to be more contagious.

Many of Australia's recent cases, including those linked to hotel quarantine workers at the Holiday Inn in Melbourne, have been found to have the UK strain.

It was first detected in the USA at the end of last year.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-uk-strain-kent-could-become-dominant/776b8f2a-1334-42ec-bb76-e62fae8b98b4

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