New data reveals number of Indian COVID variant cases in every part of Kent – fr

New data reveals number of Indian COVID variant cases in every part of Kent – fr

New data from Public Health England reveals the number of suspected cases of Indian variant coronavirus in every part of Kent.
Up to nine cases were detected in Canterbury within a week, the highest amount for a single area in the entire South East region.

Elsewhere in Kent, four cases have been detected in Dartford, two in Ashford, two in Tunbridge Wells and one each in Sevenoaks, Maidstone and Folkestone & Hythe.

The figures come from data from Public Health England showing where variant concerns are considered to be most prevalent.

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To track it as quickly as possible, they looked for positive samples that contained something known as the S gene.

It is a gene that is not present in the dominant variant of Kent, but is detected in several of the newer variants, including those from India.

Out of 397 specimens with the S gene found in May to date, around 93% have been determined to be the dreaded new Indian variant known as B1.617.2.

Therefore, scientists believe that by following the S gene, they can track the spread of the Indian variant a little faster, without having to wait for full genomic sequencing.

And S gene data reveals that 20 such cases were detected in Kent in the last recorded week, between May 2 and May 8.

None were detected in Dover, Gravesham, Medway, Swale, Thanet or Tonbridge & Malling.

But the nine detected in Canterbury alone place it 32nd in England out of 317 local authorities and the highest of all in the South East.

The highest in the country were Bolton (350) and Blackburn (110).

Canterbury, where the largest number of suspected Indian COVID cases have been found

Another trend in the data for Canterbury was that all nine cases were detected from only 10 sequenced samples, a 90 percent positivity rate.

It was one of the highest in the country – slightly higher than Bolton (86.6%) and Blackburn (85.9%) – suggesting that, like these places, the Indian variant may already be the dominant strain.

Of course, for this to be verified, further testing is needed.

Scientists believe the Indian variant is more transmissible, and its cases nearly tripled to 1313 last week in England.

But yesterday (May 16), Health Secretary Matt Hancock said early lab data showed the vaccines were still effective.

He said the majority of people hospitalized in Bolton – a hot spot for the Indian variant – were not vaccinated.

More than 20 million people in the UK have now received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest government figures.


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