UK’s new corona-virus strain poses serious risks to children too, as per scientists
Lately, the United Kingdom has been experiencing a series of bittersweet moments that has led its people into a state of turmoil and confusion. Following the roll-out of the Pfizer vaccines, which was surely a joyous moment for the country, a new strain of COVID-19 has been discovered by British scientists. While the researchers and medical professionals are tirelessly working towards establishing the cause of the mutation, it has been reported that the new variant also poses great risks to children, who were previously considered to be less susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
02/4What is the new coronavirus strain?
In order to establish the impact of the new coronavirus strain on children, it is important to first understand what this new mutant virus is and what it does to the human body. According to UK scientists, the new variant, which has been named “VUI 202012/01”, includes a genetic mutation in the “spike” protein that could be the cause of the immediate and easy spread of the virus amongst people. This means the variant that’s been identified in the south-east of England has 17 mutations that affect the shape of the virus, including the spike protein that gives the coronavirus family their name.
03/4How does the new coronavirus variant impact children?
According to Wendy Barclay, a professor at New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) and a specialist in virology at Imperial College of London, the mutations have made it easier for the virus to enter the human cells more easily and therefore, children are more prone to getting infected and are equally susceptible to this virus as adults.
She says, “Therefore children are equally susceptible, perhaps, to this virus as adults, and therefore given their mixing patterns, you would expect to see more children being infected.”
While the new variant facilitates the spread of the virus by 50% to 70%, early analysis hints that it has a higher propensity to infect children, as per scientists.
04/4What do the authorities say?
According to Neil Ferguson, a professor and infectious disease epidemiologist at Imperial College London and also a member of New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), who have been trying to identify the source of the problem, “There is a hint that it has a higher propensity to infect children.” “We haven’t established any sort of causality on that, but we can see it in the data,” Ferguson said. “We will need to gather more data to see how it behaves going forward.”
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