The latest data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the GISAID database indicate that the British variant B.1.1.7 of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout in Europe and is already the dominant strain, incl. in Great Britain, Italy and Sweden.
According to the GISAID database, in Italy the British variant of the coronavirus in Europe was 76.2 percent. samples that have been genetically tested in the last four weeks. This is the highest rate in Europe – apart from Great Britain, where it is 89.3 percent.
Option B.1.1.7 is, according to the new assessment of British experts, not only by 50-75 percent. more contagious, but also possibly associated with a higher risk of hospitalisation and death.
Apart from Italy and Great Britain, this strain is detected in more than half of the samples tested in this respect in Sweden (67.5%), Portugal (73.3%), Slovakia (71.1%) and Romania (75%). ). However, in the case of the last three countries, the result may be less representative due to the low number of genetic tests conducted there. As in the case of Poland, where 5 cases out of less than 50 conducted studies were detected in the last 4 weeks.
The most studies for coronavirus variants are carried out in Denmark and Iceland, where more than 10% are sequenced. all patient samples. In Denmark, the share of the British variant is approx. 21%.
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In a recent report on the risks associated with new virus variants, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that the risk of further spreading of B.1.1.7 across the continent is “very high”, which could lead to a significance in the number of victims of the pandemic.
ECDC also notes that while the data do not show that the British variant is significantly more resistant to current vaccines, a new version has been detected in the UK that could change that.
This is the potential effect of “gaining” the E484K mutation – the same as the South African variant B.1351, for which vaccines are less effective. So far, this new British strain has only been detected in isolated cases in England.
Meanwhile, data from GISAID show that the South African variant is not as widespread as the British variant in Europe so far. Most cases in the last 4 weeks were found in Belgium – 51 (4.5% of all tested samples), Switzerland – 28 (1.3%) and France – 26 (3.4%). In the remaining 16 European countries where its presence has been detected, these are isolated cases. (PAP)
Source: PAP, Polskiobserwator.de