Perevoščikovs: new COVID-19 strain is more contagious but not more dangerous

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Studies have shown evidence of the prevalence of a new type of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, but there are currently no scientific grounds to say it is more dangerous than the current virus variant, said epidemiologist Jurijs Perevoščikovs on Latvian Television December 20.

Previously, there had been information from the US and European countries about the emergence of a different COVID-19 virus, but this was not confirmed in studies. This time, however, there are many epidemiological studies showing different characteristics of the current virus.

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the south-east of Britain is linked to the new strain of the virus SARS-CoV-2. Due to this, passenger transport to and from the UK has been suspended in Latvia along with many other European countries.

The mutations explain that the virus can more successfully affect human immunity, Perevoščikovs explained. The epidemiologist stressed that there is evidence that this new virus might be more contagious, but no studies show it is more dangerous. 

Sporadic cases of the new type of virus have been identified in a number of countries. “The probability of getting sick [with the new type of virus] is certainly in every country,” Perevoščikovs said.

Perevoščikovs said that it was important to spend 10 days in self-isolation and not to interact with other people, and to consult a doctor and to carry out tests if symptoms appear.

The new Coronavirus variant has developed as a result of a variety of mutations. The results of several studies have shown that this Coronavirus variant is characterized by a higher spread capacity – up to 70% higher compared to the current circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2, Disease Prevention and Control Center said.


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