Strain B.1.1.7 was first detected in smears taken from patients on September 20, in November it was responsible for 26% of cases COVID-19-19 in the UK, in early December in London it was found in 60% of infected people – Science quotes leading scientific adviser to the UK government Patrick Vallance. Cases of infection with this strain of coronavirus have been recorded in Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia, Bloomberg reports.
A preliminary report from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported on December 20 that these mutations could increase the virus’s infectivity by about 70%.
This is not the first mutation associated with accelerating the spread of the virus. For example, an earlier strain with a similar name – B.1.177 – quickly spread from Spain throughout Europe. However, later its “efficiency” was explained by the large flow of tourists who returned after their vacation in Spain. Scientists note that this time the explanation may be similar. Moreover, one of the mutations in the new strain (deletion of the ORF8 gene) was previously associated with a slowdown in disease transmission.