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New COVID variant may be more deadly: British PM

News Desk || risingbd.com

Published: 09:28, 23 January 2021  
New COVID variant may be more deadly: British PM

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the new variant of COVID-19 first identified in England may be associated with a higher level of mortality although he said evidence showed both vaccines being used in the country are effective against it.

Johnson said the effect of the new variant, which is already known to be more transmissible, was putting the health service under “intense pressure”.

“We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant – the variant that was first discovered in London and the southeast (of England) – may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” he told a news briefing.

Johnson said however all current evidence showed both vaccines remained effective against old and new variants.

Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said the evidence about mortality levels was “not yet strong”, and came from a “series of different bits of information”, stressing there was great uncertainty around the data.

He said once people reached hospital, there was no greater risk, but there were signs that people who had the UK variant were at more risk overall.

“There’s no real evidence of an increase in mortality for those in hospital. However, when data are looked at in terms of those who’ve been tested positive … there is evidence that there’s an increased risk for those who have the new variant, compared to the old virus,” he said.