UK discovers ‘descendant’ of Delta variant – News

The British government confirmed on Tuesday that it “follows closely” the emergence of a “descendant” of the Delta variant of coronavirus, which can be between 10% and 15% more transmissible than this one, which is already twice as contagious as the original Sars-CoV-2.

Experts called it AY.4.2 and warn that its frequency has increased in the UK, where it may now account for nearly 10% of new Covid-19 cases, two experts explained to the Financial Times.

Its prevalence, they added, is rising rapidly, but not as fast as the first Delta, after migrating from India to the UK earlier this year.

This “new strain of Sars-CoV-2” is “descendant” of the Delta variant (B.1.167.2) and “has two characteristic mutations” in the S protein, “Y145H” and “A222V”, which could offer advantages for the virus to survive, said researcher François Balloux, one of the two experts cited by the journal at the Science Media Center.

If preliminary tests are confirmed, AY.4.2 could become the most infectious variant of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, said Balloux, director of the Institute of Genetics at University College London.

“But we must be cautious at the moment. The UK is the only country that has taken off in this way, and I wouldn’t rule out that its growth is due to a fortuitous demographic event.”

However, it is “likely” that the WHO (World Health Organization) would classify it as a “variant under investigation” and would then assign it a letter in the Greek alphabet, Balloux said.

Still, he urged people not to “panic” because while it might be “a little more communicable,” it won’t be “something as disastrous as what we’ve been through before.”

Meanwhile, an official spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today stressed that authorities are “closely monitoring” its progress and assured that “we will not hesitate to take the necessary measures”.

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