British health officials said on Friday they were formally looking for a subtype of the delta strain of the coronavirus after it was seen in a growing number of cases.
The UK Health Protection Agency (UKHSA), a public health protection body, said AY.4.2, which last week saw six per cent of cases, had been “designated as a variant under investigation”, but for now There wasn’t “a sort of concern” until now. .
“The designation was created on the basis that this sub-lineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, and there is some early evidence that its growth rate may be higher in the UK than in Delta,” the agency said.
“Further evidence is needed to know whether this is due to a change in the behavior of the virus or the epidemiological situation,” it added.
The UKHA said the delta variant was “highly influential” in the UK, accounting for 99.8 per cent of all cases.
But as of October 20, there have been 15,120 cases of sub-type AY.4.2, which was first detected in July, since coronavirus restrictions were lifted across the country.
UKHA said, “While the evidence is still emerging, so far it does not appear that this variant causes more severe disease or renders any less effective vaccines than currently available.”
Britain is currently battling the second-highest infection rate in the world after the United States, with more than 50,000 cases reported on Thursday – the highest since July.
On Friday, nearly 50,000 new cases were added, and 180 deaths occurred within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total toll since the outbreak began to 139,326.
High levels of infection among school-age children are thought to be responsible for the rising rates, and have prompted some contingency measures to be reintroduced.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said this week that cases could reach 100,000 a day, as a new advertising blitz was launched to encourage booster shots and flu jabs.
Concerns have been expressed about the decrease in immunity levels, given that the UK launched its vaccination campaign in December last year before many other countries.
But the government is resisting calls to wear masks again in crowded indoor spaces, even as health officials said it would cut close contact transmission and burden hospitals in the coming winter months. can help reduce
Ministers say vaccination rates have helped bridge the link between hospitalizations for more severe COVID cases and deaths.
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