New deadlier Covid variant could kill one in three people – SAGE warns

Covid variant: Expert on concerns over 'double-mutant' strain

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This new Covid variant has a similar death rate to MERS, which kills one in three infected people. Scientists outlined the chances that this new variant will evade current vaccines is ‘almost certain’ in a paper published on Friday. The report then set out measurements that the government should consider to combat these possibilities.

Scientists also stated that the complete eradication of the virus is “unlikely” and they have “high confidence that there will always be variants.”

Whilst unsure of the short-term effects of Covid, there is a “realistic possibility in the long term” that Covid will cause common cold symptoms, affecting predominantly the old or clinically vulnerable.

Clinical epidemiologist Dr Deepti Gurdasani took to Twitter to say that the SAGE paper was a “stark warning”.

She continued: “Given the impact Delta has already had, and in light of recent evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we cannot afford any more new variants emerging, we need to take preventive action now.”

MERS, short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Those who contracted the virus developed severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, shortness of breath and cough.

The largest known outbreak of MERS was in 2015 when a traveler was returning home to the Republic of Korea from the Arabain Peninsula.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about three or four out of every ten patients reported to have had MERS have died.

Similarly to Covid MERS is believed to have originated in bats and later transmitted to camels.

In order to curb the effects of this new variant SAGE suggests the UK needs to continue with vaccinations.

This is especially true for vulnerable age groups who may need to be given updated vaccinations at regular periods to increase their protection.

It also suggested minimising the introduction of new variants from other territories, which would reduce the risk of recombination between variants.

The delta variant was first identified in India and according to BBC data accounts for 99 percent of new Covid cases in the UK.

The alpha variant on the other hand previously dominated here, becoming known as the ‘Kent’ variant.

This variant has spread to more than 50 countries but there is no evidence to suggest it causes any more serious symptoms or illness.

Other variants that are being monitored by experts include the beta and gamma variants.

Both have been detected in the UK, but the gamma variant is the smallest, only being detected in ten other countries.

Yesterday Government figures showed that nearly 130,000 people have died of Covid in the UK.

However, the average number of daily confirmed cases appears to be falling after a sharp increase in late June and early July.

The public are urged to remain cautious even though restrictions on social distancing and mask wearing have been lifted.

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