DOZENS of cases of the mutant South African Covid strain have been detected in the UK, research suggests.
Analysis of nearly 15,000 British samples revealed that 30 were a genetic match for the new, faster-spreading virus.
Dozens of cases of the mutant South African Covid strain have been detected in the UK, research suggests
Officials have so far confirmed only two cases of the variant in late December – both contacts of people who had travelled to South Africa.
Scientists fear the current Covid vaccines will be less effective against the more contagious bug.
The new strain contains mutations including N501Y – an alteration in the spike protein of the virus, which is a target for vaccines.
Details of the 30 matching samples were revealed in an Edinburgh University report on new variants.
Although it is unclear if they all came from separate people, experts say they most likely represent individual cases.
One of the researchers said: “Technically we don’t know how many individuals – it could be multiple genomes from the same individual but that is unlikely as most of the samples come from community testing.”
Scientists fear the current Covid vaccines such as the Pfizer-BioNTech could be less effective against the more contagious South African strainCredit: AFP or licensors
Frontline staff in South Africa have been dealing with the mutant strain which is already the dominant virus variant in the Eastern and Western Cape provincesCredit: AFP or licensors
Public Health England last night refused to comment on the findings.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]