UK coronavirus version may be more capable of infecting children: scientists


FILE PHOTO: Due to the outbreak of coronovirus disease (COVID-19), people catch umbrellas in London, UK by 16 December 2020. REUTERS / Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – A new version of the fast-spreading coronavirus in Britain mutates which could mean children are as susceptible to being infected with it as adults – unlike previous strains, scientists said on Monday .

Informing journalists on the latest findings, scientists from the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threatus Advisory Group (NERVTAG), which are tracking the variant, said it has quickly become a major strain in the UK south, and soon The same can happen across the country. .

Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Oxford University and President of NERVTAG, said, “We are now highly confident that this version has a transmission advantage over other virus variants that are currently in the UK.”

“There is a sign that it has a high tendency to infect children,” said Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College London and an infectious disease epidemiologist.

“We don’t establish any kind of efficiency on that, but we can see it in the data,” Ferguson said. “We will need to collect more data to see how it behaves next.”

The emergence of the mutated SARS-CoV-2 variant, which scientists say is 70% more transitive than previous strains in Britain, has prompted some countries to close their borders with Britain and the country’s larger Areas have been pushed to severe restrictions. Christmas period.

Wendy Barclay, another NERVTAG professor and an expert on virology at Imperial, said that between mutations in the new form there are changes in the way human cells enter, which may mean “children are, perhaps, as adults.” Are equally susceptible to this virus. ” “.

“Therefore, given their mixing patterns, you would expect more children to be infected,” Barclay said.

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