COVID-19: Indian variant ‘takes over’ as dominant strain as cases increase across UK, says epidemiologist

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COVID-19: Indian variant ‘takes over’ as dominant strain as cases increase across UK, says epidemiologist


The Indian variant is ‘taking over’ as the dominant COVID strain in the UK as cases increase across the country, a clinical epidemiologist has warned.

“There is no doubt that the Indian variant is taking over, the proportion of sequences in many places in the UK shows that the Indian variant is 60% of the cases”, Dr Deepti Gurdasani, also a lecturer in machine learning at Queen Mary University in London, told Sky News.

“We’ve heard it’s pretty localized, but it’s not, it’s increased rapidly in all regions – at different levels, but we’ll end up in one place, it’s not dropping anywhere. “

The number of cases of the Indian COVID The variant doubled last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Areas such as Bolton, Bedford and Blackburn with Darwen have all seen spikes in cases in recent weeks, with a large number of Indian variants identified.

Several other areas have undergone surge testing and more vaccines have been rolled out, as their infections have also increased.

While Scotland has not released local data on the Indian variant, the country has recorded 808 cases until May 27 – and Glasgow saw a spike in cases.

Dr Gurdasani, who advises Independent SAGE and worked as a doctor in India, said that the variant taking over “makes a huge difference as data suggests it is 60% more transmissible than the Kent variant”.

The clinical epidemiologist added: “This is highly transmissible – so far it appears to be 60% more transmissible than the Kent variant, which is 60% more than the previous one, which was 20% more transmissible than the original variant of Wuhan.

“It shows the dangers of the variants, and I don’t think this will be the last variant.

“It’s a continuous cycle and each new variant is a huge gamble because vaccines can really fall against them.

“So far vaccines have been resistant to them, but we need to protect our vaccines against other variants that might make them less effective.

“We have invested millions in our vaccines and their deployment, so to protect them we need to impose strict border restrictions. “

In January, SAGE reported that unless full border restrictions were introduced, worrisome variants would be imported.

The quarantine of government hotels and the new traffic light system for inbound travel have come under criticism.

Home Office data released on Thursday revealed that around two-thirds of arrivals in 2021 were non-UK nationals.

More than 12 million people have flown to the UK since the first lockdown began in March 2020, including 1.59m over the first 4 months of 2021.

Dr Gurdasani added that more and more young people are infected as she called for the reinstatement of face masks in school, good ventilation in classrooms and small classrooms.

The clinical epidemiologist said she was concerned that the Indian variant appears to affect school-aged children more than last year.

“It can’t be explained, but the rise seems to happen earlier in school age groups and then spread to other age groups,” she said.

Singapore thinks it affects children more and anecdotal evidence from India shows young people are very sick – this is not yet solid data, but we need to take the anecdotal evidence from frontline workers seriously in the world. a pandemic. ”

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