As the world grapples with managing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a new strain of the virus has emerged in the United Kingdom.

In December 2020, officials in the UK identified the new strain, known as “B.1.1.7”. It has since been identified in multiple countries, sparking concern and cases of new, self-contained outbreaks particularly in Europe. This article examines the new strain of COVID-19 and explains why it is a source of concern.

What is the New Covid Strain?

The new strain of the virus is a virus strain belonging to the SARS-CoV-2 family. It is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom in September 2020. Scientists and researchers studying the virus have concluded that the new strain has undergone several mutations, which have made it more transmissible than the original strain.

What Makes it More Transmissible than the Original Strain?

The new strain of SARS-CoV-2 has an estimated 70% increased infectivity rate over the original strain of the virus, making it far more contagious. In addition, the new strain contains a mutation of its primary protein, called an N501Y mutation, which is suspected to be more susceptible to host cell membrane penetration, making it potentially more damaging to the human host than the original strain.

What are the Symptoms of this New Covid Strain?

The symptoms associated with the new strain of COVID-19 are similar to those of the original strain. A person infected with the new strain may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of breath
• Fatigue
• Muscle aches
• Loss of appetite
• Chills
• Headache
• Sore throat

The new strain may also cause more severe symptoms in some patients, such as pneumonia and difficulty breathing, which may require medical attention.

How is the New Covid Strain Spread?

The new strain of COVID-19 is spread through contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets. These droplets are expelled through activities like coughing, sneezing, singing, or speaking and can travel up to 6 feet. It is important to abide by the recommended safety measures to stay safe and minimize the spread of the virus, individuals should:

• Wear a mask whenever you are around other people
• Maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet)
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
• Still practice good hygiene by covering your mouth when you sneeze and cough
• Avoid crowds and other large gatherings

Are There Any Vaccines Available for the New Covid Strain?

Currently, there is no specific vaccine that has been approved to protect against the new COVID-19 strain. However, existing vaccines may still offer some protection against it. Vaccines currently available for distribution are believed to provide some form of protection, although it is yet to be determined how much.

What Countries are Experiencing High Rates of this New Covid Strain?

At present, the new strain is reported to be circulating widely in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. The strain has also been detected in countries such as Sweden, Ireland, France, Italy and Spain. Many countries are taking measures to control the spread of the new strain, including border controls and travel restrictions.

What Measures are Being Taken to Prevent the Spread?

In order to prevent the spread of the new strain, public health authorities around the world have introduced measures to contain the virus.

• Enhanced screening measures, such as thermal scanning, have been implemented in airports and other entry points.
• Mandatory quarantines and travel restrictions, particularly for those coming from areas with high rates of infection, have been put in place in many countries.
• Increased testing and contact tracing have been recommended by health authorities in all areas touched by the new strain to help identify new cases.
• Additional guidelines for the general public to practice social distancing, wear face masks, and prevent large group gatherings are also being enforced.

The emergence of a more contagious strain of COVID-19 is a concern for all. It is essential that individuals to adhere to the safety guidelines and preventive measures issued by public health authorities to reduce their risk of exposure to the virus. It is also important to stay informed of the latest developments and research on the virus to ensure that we can take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and those around us.