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Tackling the rise of concerning COVID-19 variants in the UK


Variants that are considered to have concerning epidemiological, immunological or pathogenic properties, as well as evidence of community transmission in the UK or abroad, are first designated as a VUI. After being risk assessed by the relevant expert committee, a VUI may be upgraded to VOC. The first VOC — B.1.1.7 — was detected in Kent in September 2020 and is now the dominant lineage in the UK. It has also been detected in more than 100 countries around the world. A similar variant with an additional mutation — B.1.1.7 + E484K — was detected in Bristol in December 2020 and is also circulating in the UK but at very low levels, with no new cases reported since 1 March 2021. Two further VOCs have been identified in the UK — one first detected in South Africa and one first detected in Japan (in a traveller from Brazil). To date, there are relatively small numbers of cases in the UK with only isolated pockets of community transmission. Identified cases are being tackled aggressively through surge testing — increased testing and enhanced contact tracing in specific locations — and genomic sequencing.

The Pharmaceutical Journal - April 29, 2021

View the full story here: https://pharmaceutical-journal.com/article/feature/tackling-the-rise-of-concerning-covid-19-variants-in-the-uk