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B 117UKYes, recent studies suggest the UK variant of coronavirus (B117) is linked to a higher chance of hospitalisation and death than the original strain.
A recent study by the University of Exeter and Bristol assessed samples from 54,906 people who had tested positive for the UK strain, against people who had tested positive for other strains. The study showed that the UK strain led to 227 deaths among 54,906 patients, compared to 141 deaths in the group of the same size with other coronavirus strains. That means the UK strain could be 64 per cent more deadly.
Early results from lab studies show that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine offers a good level of protection against mutations found in the UK variant (B.1.1.7). While further research is ongoing, it’s likely that the vaccine will still help protect against this strainA study on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine shows that it offers good protection against the UK variant of coronavirus (B.1.1.7). This is good news given this is the most common strain in the UK now.The study showed that this vaccine offers 75% effectiveness against the UK strain, compared to 84% against the initial strain. This is well above the 50% minimum level of protection that is recommended by the World Health Organization.
B 1351South AfricaThe South African strain is not believed to be more deadly than the initial strain, but it is known to spread more quickly than the initial strain.Early results from a New York University study show that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine also offers protection against the South African variant, though this study only included a very small number of people. There is some evidence from lab studies that antibodies made in response to the Pfizer vaccine are less effective against the South African variant – but this does not necessarily mean the vaccine will not still give protection. More research is needed into this area.A small study of 2,000 people in South Africa has shown that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offers minimal protection against mild cases of the South African variant. The study, which was based people of an average age of 31, shows that protection may be as low as 10%. The research wasn’t able to determine whether it protects against serious illness or hospitalisation, because this group of people were at low risk of serious illness. Other research suggests that the vaccine is still likely to reduce severe cases and deaths from the South African strain. More research is needed in this area.
Oxford University is working on adapting the vaccine to ensure that it protects against this variant, as well as other strains. They have said a ‘booster’ jab could be available by autumn 2021.
P 1Japan / BrazilThe Brazilian strain is not believed to be more deadly, but it does spread more easily than the original Covid-19 strain.Early results from lab studies have showed that antibodies made in response to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are still active against mutations found in the Brazil variant. More research is needed to be sure of how effective the vaccine is against the Brazilian variant.We don’t yet have good evidence on how effective the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is against the Brazilian variant. When more information is available, we will publish it here.
(B 1525)New YorkWe don’t yet know whether the B1.525 variant is more deadly, or spreads more easily, than other strains of coronavirus. The B1.525 variant and has similarities to the Kent variant, including the E484K mutation. This mutation can make the virus more transmissible, and more resistant to antibodies, so more research needs to be done.We don’t yet know how effective the Pfizer or Oxford vaccines will be at protecting against the B1.525 variant.
As the B1.525 strain has some of the same mutations as the Kent strain, updates to the vaccine may provide increased protection against other variants, like B1.525.
B 1427California
Not Tracked by WHO/ CDC
(B 1526)New York
(P 2)Brazil
Minor Variants