A new Covid-19 variant has been identified in the UK, the health secretary has revealed, suggesting it could be linked to the rapid spread of the virus in south-east England as millions more people in London are being moved into the toughest restrictions. Cases of the strain have been found in almost 60 areas, Matt Hancock disclosed, although he stressed that clinical advice suggested it was “highly unlikely” the mutation would fail to respond to a vaccine.
"High numbers of cases of the variant have been observed in some areas where there is also a high incidence of COVID-19," the statement noted. "It is not yet known whether the variant is responsible for these increased numbers of cases."
In other words, we don't yet know if the new variant spreads more easily than other variants of the virus. While the rising number of infections could be linked to a genetic mutation that lets the variant spread easily, it may have also become widespread by chance as infected individuals interacted with others and set off chains of transmission. In the coming weeks, both PHE and the World Health Organization (WHO) will study the new variant and track its spread to determine whether it's more transmissible, Hancock said.
Source: , livescience