Virologist, Cillian de Gascon, said Irish scientists will begin to investigate where the new Covid-19 virus has been infected and whether it is causing more serious disease.
He said the new mutated form of the delta coronary variant – classified as a «variant under investigation» by British health authorities – had been detected in more than 80 cases. Irish Times.
The new AY.4.2 variant accounts for 6 per cent of Covid-19 cases in the UK, but is said to be 10 to 15 per cent more transmissible than the delta variant prevalent in Ireland and Britain.
There is no evidence yet to suggest that the variant causes more disease in the people it infects or makes Covid-19 vaccines ineffective, but it may have increased case numbers in Britain.
The UK Health Security Agency said early evidence suggested that the delta variant may have increased the rate of growth in the UK compared to the original delta variant.
It has not yet been defined as a ‘variable of concern’ – the higher risk category of variants.
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Dr de Gascon, director of the UCLA National Virology Reference Laboratory, said the new variant AY.4.2 was «not driving» the increase in Covid-19 cases in Ireland as it represented less than 2 per cent of the 4,000 cases examined in September. .
said Dr. de Gascon, a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team.
He said British evidence appeared to show the variant had a «slightly increased rate of growth» but that this was based on «reasonably small numbers» of the variable for the 50,000 new coronavirus cases reported each day in Britain.
He said the variant did not appear to increase transmissibility as much as the alpha variant, which was first discovered in the UK, last year, or the delta variant, which was first found in India.
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