The CDC reviews new data suggesting that identified coronavirus versions in the UK may be more lethal


“The CDC has reached out to UK officials and is reviewing their new mortality figures associated with variant B.1.7,” a CDC official said on Saturday, using the scientific name of the variant spotted in the UK. is.”

A UK report released on Friday stated that there is “a realistic possibility” that the new version has a higher mortality rate than other variants.
Although the data are not conclusive, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “there is some evidence that the new version … may be associated with higher levels of mortality.”
CDC modeling shows this new version, which has been shown to spread particularly quickly, could become the dominant version in the United States by March.
According to the CDC, only 195 cases of the new version have been spotted in the US so far, but public health officials believe many more cases are undesirable. Cases have been found in 22 states, with the CDC saying an especially high number have been detected in California and Florida.
The CDC is still working on the goal of doubling coronovirus sequences to expand the hunt for mutations

So far, studies suggest that current vaccines will protect against the new variant, and that wearing masks, social disturbances, and hand-cleaning are important to control the spread of the virus.

Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and member of President Joe Biden’s coronovirus infection team, said he has reviewed the UK report, as well as other data that have not been publicly released, and he is “convinced” That the new version is fatal.

Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, said, “The data is growing – and I can’t share some of it, which is clearly the cause of B.1.1.7 more serious illness and death.” ” At the University of Minnesota. “Already we know that transmission has increased in this version, and therefore it is very bad news.”

A CDC consultant said it would be ideal if US doctors could examine and see patients with newer variants than patients infected with other variants.

But an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Drs. This can be difficult, William Scheffner said, because genomic sequencing – the laboratory work required to detect new strains – is not very strong in the United States.

Schaffner, a member of the CDC’s advisory committee, said, “Our ability to determine if your particular patient has this new strain, and it actually reinforces the notion that other countries have more ability to do so.” ” On vaccination practices.

The UK has one of the strongest genomic sequencing programs in the world. His report details several studies that compare the severity of the new version with the previous version.

The UK’s chief science adviser, Patrick Valence, cited the mortality data, saying the evidence is not yet robust and the data are inconclusive.

“If you took … a man in his 60s, the average risk is that for the 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to die of the virus unfortunately. With the new version, 1,000 With people infected, around 13 or. 14 people can be expected to die, ”he said on Friday.

“The change, for that kind of age group, is an increase from 10 to 13 or 14 out of 1,000 and you will see that there is a corresponding increase in risk for different age groups as well,” he said. .

Analyzes cited in the UK report include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London, University of Exeter and Public Health England.

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