Mutant Covid strain’s full impact won’t be known for ‘several weeks’

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The full impact of the new mutated strain of Coronavirus won’t be known for weeks to come, experts warned today.

Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), said experts were still investigating whether new strain will side-step vaccines.

The new version of the virus is thought to have first developed in Kent, south east England.

The mutation is ripping its way through England and sparked diplomatic rows over border closures.

European countries queued up to cut ties with the UK in a bid to stop the virus spreading to the continent.

Experts have now warned that the full impact of the mutation won’t be felt for weeks yet.

Scientists are studying whether recovered patients have immunity caused by prior infection, The Metro reported.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, reassured Brits on Saturday that there is no evidence mutations will affect vaccines.

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But Professor Horby said on Wednesday morning: “What we don’t know yet is if there’s any difference in the severity of disease, the age distribution of cases, or most importantly whether there is any immune escape.

“There was nothing special about what was going on in Kent and the south of England during lockdown compared with other areas of the country.

“We saw the non-variant decline in a particular week and place, whilst the variant increased in the same week and place in the same population.”

Covid-19’s new strain has been found in at least 57 areas across the UK.

Locations in Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds Oxford, Coventry and Cambridge have now identified the strain in the regions.

Scotland also detected the mutation around Glasgow while cases in Swansea, Newport and Cardiff were reported.

It first emerged in September 2020 and circulated until mid-November – eventually causing higher infection rates in Kent, London, and Essex.

Boris since plunged swathes of the South East into Tier Four in a bid to stem the spread.

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