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CDC reviewing new information that implies coronavirus variant recognized in UK might be extra lethal

“The CDC has reached out to UK officials and is reviewing their new mortality data associated with variant B.1.1.7,” a CDC official instructed CNN Saturday, utilizing the scientific title for the variant first noticed within the UK in November.

A UK report launched Friday states there’s “a realistic possibility” that the brand new variant has a better dying fee than different variants.
While the information will not be conclusive, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned “there is some evidence that the new variant … may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.”
CDC modeling reveals this new variant, which has been proven to unfold particularly shortly, may grow to be the predominant variant within the United States by March.
Only 195 instances of the brand new variant have been noticed within the US thus far, in accordance with the CDC, however public well being officers imagine many extra instances are going undetected. Cases have been present in 22 states, the CDC says, with California and Florida detecting an particularly excessive quantity.

So far, research recommend that the present vaccines will defend in opposition to the brand new variant, and that sporting masks, social distancing and hand hygiene are key to controlling unfold of the virus.

Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and member of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus transition crew, mentioned he has reviewed the UK report, in addition to different information that has not been publicly launched, and he’s “convinced” that the brand new variant is deadlier.

“The data is mounting — and some of it I can’t share — that clearly supports that B.1.1.7 is causing more severe illness and increased death,” mentioned Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy on the University of Minnesota. “Already we know this variant has increased transmission, and so this is more very bad news.”

A CDC adviser mentioned it could be excellent if US medical doctors may verify and see how sufferers with the brand new variant fare in comparison with sufferers contaminated with different variants.

But Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious illness skilled at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, mentioned this might be troublesome as a result of genomic sequencing — the lab work essential to detect new strains — will not be very sturdy within the United States.

“Our current ability to determine whether your particular patient has this new strain is very limited, and so this really reinforces the notion that other countries have much more capacity to do this than we do,” mentioned Schaffner, a member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The UK has one of many strongest genomic sequencing packages on the planet. Their report offers particulars of a number of research that evaluate the severity of the brand new variant with earlier ones.

The UK’s chief science adviser, Patrick Vallance, cited the mortality information, including that the proof will not be but robust and the information stay unsure.

“If you took … a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die,” he mentioned Friday.

“That’s the sort of change for that sort of age group, an increase from 10 to 13 or 14 out of 1,000 and you will see that across the different age groups as well, a similar sort of relative increase in the risk,” he added.

Analyses cited within the UK report embody these achieved by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London, the University of Exeter and Public Health England.

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