The variant of the coronavirus that first appeared in the United Kingdom could be up to 70% more deadly than the previous version that spread throughout the United States, according to a recent study.
The coronavirus variant called B.1.1.7, also known as the Kent variant, is likely about 30% to 70% more lethal than the original strain according to a report from the U.K. government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, or NERVTAG, released last Friday.
The group reviewed more than a dozen independent studies of the risk of hospitalization and death from the “variant of concern,” or “VOC,” compared to the original strain, known as the “non-VOC,” in the study.
“Based on these analyses, it is likely that infection with VOC B.1.1.7 is associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation (sic) and death compared to infection with non-VOC viruses.”
However, the report also states: “It should be noted that the absolute risk of death per infection remains low.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found more than 1,000 cases of the UK variant in at least 40 states.
“These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19,” the CDC notes. “An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.”
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