B.1.1.7 #coronavirus variant infections have the potential to cause substantial additional mortality

The mortality hazard ratio associated with infection with VOC-202012/1 [B.1.1.7] compared to infection with previously circulating variants is 1.64 in patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community. In this comparatively low risk group, this represents an increase from 2.5 to 4.1 deaths per 1000 detected cases.

Medrxiv Preprint  Increased hazard of mortality in cases compatible with SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern 202012/1 – a matched cohort study




16 cases of new #coronavirus variant VUI-202102/04, B1.1.318 under investigation in Britain

Sixteen cases of a new variant, VUI-202102/04 (lineage B.1.1.318), have been identified in the UK. The variant has been designated a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) by Public Health England (PHE).

Cases of this variant, understood to have originated in the UK, were first identified on 15 February through genomic horizon scanning. All individuals who tested positive and their contacts have been traced and advised to isolate.

Following assessments, the variant was designated a VUI on 24 February. It contains the E484K mutation, which is also found in 2 existing VUIs present in the UK, but does not feature the N501Y mutation, present in all variants of concern (VOCs).

The addition of this variant as a VUI means there are now a total of 4 VUIs and 4 VOCs currently being tracked in the UK.

Gov.uk variant statement

Daily Mail report


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Brazilian #coronavirus variant #P1 at 4.3% in Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio, and Marche in #Italy

“in our territory, in particular in some regions of central Italy ,there is an estimated prevalence of the Brazilian variant of 4.3%, not in the whole country, but in Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio, Marche”. This is “a particularly worrying fact. These variants are new and must be estimated both with respect to increased transmissibility and the potential not to guarantee the same immune coverage : increased transmissibility and the potential ability to reduce protection. They are extremely important to monitor and it is important that the most restrictive measures possible are taken.”  The variant South African , on the other hand, “is 0.4%  particularly in some areas of South Tyrol”.

The president of the CSS to reiterate that “the English variant has greater power infectious on the pediatric population . We have clear evidence. There is an increase in the number of cases even between 6 and 10 years “.

“The English variant has a greater transmission capacity. It has an estimated prevalence of around 54% , but it is a figure referred to February 18, so today the value is undoubtedly higher”.,

Comments by Silvio Brusaferro , president of the Italian ISS, and Franco Locatelli , President of the CSS.

Quotidiano.net report


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#Norway – 800 in quarantine after B.1.1.7 #coronavirus outbreak at fitness centre

Harstad Municipality in Norway is introducing stricter measures and putting around 800 people in quarantine after a coronavirus outbreak at the fitness center Family Sports Club in Seljestad.

On Saturday, Harstad Municipality received confirmation of eight new corona cases. All eight people have been to the Family Sports Club fitness center, which has now been closed.

Everyone who has been to the fitness center between Monday afternoon and Friday is considered to be a close contact of infected people, and has to immediately go into quarantine for ten days, the Municipality warned on Saturday.

The National Institute of Public Health (FHI) has asked the Municipality to treat the outbreak as if the British mutation of the coronavirus was confirmed.

Norway today report


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#Coronavirus variant circulating in #Brescia, Italy since August 2020 has #501 and #493 mutation. Possible B.1.1.7 precursor.

“A variant of coronavirus circulating in Italy since early August 2020 is “very similar to the infamous English variant [B.1.1.7]”.

An ” Italian variant ” discovered in Brescia, “which precedes the variant that emerged only at the end of September in the United Kingdom and then spread to Europe, including Italy, and could also be a precursor”.

This was announced to Adnkronos Salute by Arnaldo Caruso , president of the Italian Society of Virology (Siv-Isv), full professor of Microbiology and Clinical Microbiology at the University of Brescia, director of the Asst Spedali Civili microbiology laboratory.

The variant identified, he explains, “has several points mutation in the Spike protein , the ‘hook’ that the virus uses to attack the receptor present on target cells in our body. Like the English one, the Italian variant also has a mutation in a nerve center of the Spike / cell receptor interaction, more precisely in position 501 ″.

But unlike the Gb mutant, “the Italian variant also has a second mutation in position 493, which makes its Spike protein slightly different from that of the pandemic virus we all know today”.

Calabriadirettanews.com article



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UK alert issued after Brazil #P1 #Manaus variant was found in a #coronavirus test without a name on it

UK health officials want anyone who took a test on February 12 or 13 and has not yet had their result or did not complete their registration card to get in touch immediately.

An urgent alert has been issued after six cases of the Brazilian variant of coronavirus were found in the UK – and health officials have no idea where one of them is. The alert was issued tonight after the P1 variant was found in a Covid test without a name on it.

Health officials want anyone who took a test on February 12 or 13 and has not yet had their result or did not complete their registration card to get in touch immediately.

Leeds-live.co.uk report


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Imperial College study: 2% of babies born to #coronavirus positive UK mothers later test positive for the virus themselves

The proportion of babies born to mothers with confirmed COVID-19, and who subsequently tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19) was 2 per cent in the UK study, and 1.8 per cent in the US study.

The majority of women in the study had no pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or a respiratory condition such as asthma.

In the UK study eight of the women died, while four women died in the US study.

The study team say that although these death rates are higher than expected for women giving birth, they are similar to the expected death rates seen among adults with a confirmed COVID-19 infection. This suggests that women in pregnancy are not at a higher risk of death from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women.

Full Imperial College Report


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Six cases of #Manaus, Brazil #P1 #coronavirus variant found in #UK for first time

Six cases of the Manaus Brazilian coronavirus variant have been identified in the UK, Public Health England has said. It is the first time the variant, known as P.1, P1 or B1128 has been identified in the UK.

Two of the cases are from one household in South Gloucestershire, with a history of travel to Brazil. The third case is currently unlinked and an investigation is underway to find the individual as they did not fill in their test registration card so follow-up details are not available, PHE said. Three more cases have been identified in Scotland.

Full Telegraph.co.uk report


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Teachers should be prepared to ‘sacrifice their lives’ to open #schools in coronavirus pandemic, says ex-Ofsted head

The former head of Ofsted has said that teachers need to show a “similar commitment” to medical professionals, who in some cases have “sacrificed their lives.”

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former chief inspector of schools, said there has to be a “pulling together’ among teachers and that they have to exhibit the same level of devotion as medics who have “gone the extra” mile during the pandemic, in order to get children caught up with their studies when schools return early next month.


Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

Recombinant #coronavirus in #Norway combines UK, South Africa and Brazil variants

A multivariant of the British, South African, and Brazilian corona variant has been detected in a sample taken from a person who came to Trondheim from abroad.

There has been no further spread, municipal chief medical officer Tove Røsstad told newspaper Nidaros.

“We were informed of this after the person in question had finished his isolation period. It was a person who came from abroad and who tested positive at the border,” Røsstad noted.

According to Røsstad, the virus sample had some elements from the Brazilian variant, from the British variant, and the South African variant.

Norwaytoday report


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UK has sequenced about 45% to 48% of all #SARSCoV2 #genomes in the #Gisaid database.

The UK is a world leader in sequencing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Of all the coronavirus genomes that have been sequenced in the world, nearly half have been sequenced by COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (Cog-UK). The consortium began life on March 4 when Sharon Peacock, a professor of public health and microbiology at the University of Cambridge, emailed a handful of scientists and asked for their help.

Full interview with Sharon Peacock of COG_UK on The Conversation





Image by Vesna Harni from Pixabay

#Coronavirus surge testing in Brentwood, Essex after South African variant #501YV2 501Y.V2 detected

People in part of Essex, England are being urged to take a coronavirus test when offered, after the South African variant 501Y.V2 was discovered there.

Targeted testing will be offered to residents in the CM13 postcode in Brentwood after one case of the South African variant was detected.

Surge testing has also been carried out at:

East of England

  • Norfolk County Council (specific areas within IP22)


  • London Borough of Ealing (specific areas in and near to the W7 postcode)
  • London Borough of Lambeth (specific areas in the SE21 and SW16 postcodes)

North East

  • Middlesbrough Council (specific areas within the TS7 and TS8 postcodes)

North West

  • Metropolitan Borough of Sefton (Dukes and Cambridge wards)
  • Manchester City Council (specific areas in the following postcodes: M9, M14, M15, M16 and M40)

South East

  • Hampshire County Council (specific areas in the RG26 postcode)
  • Southampton City Council (specific areas in the SO15 postcode)
  • Surrey County Council (specific areas in the GU22 postcode)

South West

  • Bristol City Council (specific areas in the following postcodes: BS1, BS2, BS3, BS4, BS5, BS6, BS8, BS9, BS14 and BS16)
  • South Gloucestershire Council (specific areas in the following postcodes: BS16 and BS37)

West Midlands

  • Birmingham City Council (specific areas in and near to the B31 postcode)
  • Staffordshire County Council (Stafford District)
  • Walsall Council (Pleck ward)
  • Worcestershire County Council (specific areas in and near to the WR3 postcode)

Yorkshire and the Humber

  • Leeds City Council (specific areas within the LS8 and LS9 postcodes)


ITV report on Essex Surge Testing

UK.gov advice on Surge Testing


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