Colorado has reported the first case of Covid variant B.1.1.7, which was recently found in the UK. According to local officials, the patient is a man in his 20s, and he does not have any travel history or close contacts. The Colorado state laboratory has confirmed the news, and they have alerted the CDC in this regard.
According to the UK scientists, the new strain of coronavirus is more contagious than the original strain. They had indicated that it is 70% more transmissible than the original one. However, it is not more severe when it comes to symptoms. The new variant, which was first spotted in England, soon spread to various other European regions. In less than two months, the new variant was responsible for more than half of the covid 19 cases in London.
Colorado Reports First US Covid Case Of UK Variant
Several parts of Britain are under lockdown, and many nations have banned travel from the UK. Even the US has issued travel restrictions on passengers coming from the UK. Such passengers have to get tested mandatorily, and they will be allowed entry only if they test negative for Covid 19. Apart from that, travelers coming from the UK should also quarantine themselves for two weeks and follow all restrictions with regards to Covid 19 as issued by the CDC.
According to the CDC, the new strain that was first spotted in the UK has also been identified in France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Singapore, India, Lebanon, and the UAE. Even before it was officially detected in the US, the CDC had indicated that the new variant might already be there in the US.
More efforts are needed to sequence the viruses as only about 22 viruses had been sequenced from the total 19 million cases in the US. In this regard, the authorities should also pay attention to monitoring the strain of covid 19 apart from the regular testing. In this way, they can stay more alert and handle the situation before it goes out of hand.
The CDC has issued a warning with regards to allowing travelers from the UK. It said that allowing travel between the two countries will lead to an increased number of cases that involve the new strain in the future. The US is already overburdened with a rising number of covid 19 cases, and it will be difficult to handle the new strain that is more contagious than the original one.
According to the CDC, the coronavirus mutates once almost every two weeks, and there is nothing abnormal about the process. The variant B117 that was spotted in the UK is one among several mutations of the virus.
Researchers, however, say that the available vaccines for covid 19 may be enough to handle the new strain as the virus needs to accumulate several mutations in spike protein in order to become immune to vaccines. BioNTech CEO had also indicated that the company’s vaccine might be able to take care of the new strain of coronavirus. However, further tests are needed, and the company is likely to confirm the effectiveness of the vaccine on the B117 strain in the next few weeks.
The B117 is more contagious as the mutation has been able to produce a high viral load in the nose and mouth. As the number of viruses is more, the chances of spreading are also higher in this case.
Health experts suggest that using masks and practicing social distancing are the only ways in which the common public can safeguard themselves till they get vaccinated. As enough doses of vaccines are not available at the moment, it may take a few months before everyone has access to the covid vaccine in the country.