A new Covid Delta strain sub-variant is spreading in the UK, but how alarmed do we need to be?
While the new variant is quickly spreading, the mutation is reportedly less likely to cause symptoms, meaning it is a milder disease than other more aggressive strains of the virus. Scientists have warned that while the strain may have a faster transmission, it is not necessarily more harmful, and therefore does not immediately mean there should be a cause for alarm.
The strain, labeled AY.4.2., is now twice as prevalent in the country as it was two months ago. A study conducted on behalf of the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care found that the strain was responsible for 12 percent of the new cases between Oct. 19 and Nov. 5.
The study took a swab test from 100,000 people across the UK. It was conducted by researchers from the Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI. Of the 100,000 people, the only strains identified were either Delta or variants of Delta.
Statistical analysis therefore shows that the sub-variant grew by 2.8 percent every 10 days since the end of September. This makes it the second most dominant strain of Covid, only following after its originator, the Delta variant, labeled AY.4.
Experts and researchers say that the latest variant came to being over the summer.
Scientists though are not ringing the alarm bells quite yet. The latest research found that the mutation was less likely to result in a symptomatic infection. With the original Delta strain, 75 percent of people reported symptoms. With this variant, that number is less, at two third reporting a symptom.
In terms of the typical Covid symptoms, including coughs and a high temperature, one third of those infected reported these symptoms. In comparison, half of those infected with the Delta variant reported these classic symptoms.