New SARS-CoV-2 Variant Infecting Greater Proportion of Young People

Pavankumar Kamat

January 05, 2021

A new preprint study suggests that the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 termed Variant of Concern (VOC) 202012/01 is significantly more transmissible than other variants and is infecting a greater proportion of younger individuals in England.

A team of researchers at the Imperial College London, the University of Edinburgh, Public Health England, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Birmingham and the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium+ investigated the relationship between transmission and the frequency of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant across the UK over time.

The findings show that the VOC 202012/01 has a transmission advantage of 0.4-0.7 difference in reproduction number (R0) compared with a non-VOC variant, with the R0 varying between 1.4 and 1.8. Higher levels of infection have been seen despite the stricter social distancing measures in England. The study also indicates that individuals aged <20 years old constitute a higher proportion of VOC cases than non-VOC cases.

Dr Erik Volz from the Imperial College London said: “We find overwhelming evidence of a change in transmissibility of the B.1.1.7 variant that should be taken into account when planning our COVID-19 response in the new year.”

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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