The Coronavirus Variant First Spotted in the UK Appears to Be Deadlier

Jacob Nguyen

New research suggests that the Coronavirus strain B.1.1.7, that first originated in the UK, appears to be more lethal than previous other variants of Coronavirus. A sample of people in the UK that were infected with B.1.1.7 Coronavirus variant were associated with a 64 percent increase in the likelihood of dying from Covid-19. Originally, this variant was determined to be more easily transmitted, but new data suggests it may be more deadly as well. 

Researchers, from various institutions in the UK, collected data on more than 100,000 people infected with the Coronavirus between October and February. The researchers then looked at the tests detected with the variant compared to other previous variants. They found out that the Coronavirus variant, B.1.1.7, was associated with 227 deaths in a sample size of 54,906 patients. Compared to the same number of individuals infected with different strains, there were a total of 141 deaths. 

In a news release on Wednesday, Robert Challen, lead author of the study from the University of Exeter in the UK, said that: “In the community, death from COVID-19 is still a rare event, but the B.1.1.7 variant raises the risk. Coupled with its ability to spread rapidly this makes B.1.1.7 a threat that should be taken seriously.” Though the study seems to suggest that the B.1.1.7 virus is a more lethal strain of Coronavirus, more research is needed to determine the cause of this increase in risk.

 Dr. Julian Tang, honorary associate professor and clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, was unconvinced by the results from the study. He said that a study would need to be revisited in the Spring to account for seasonal variables. More research is also needed to determine whether this lethality would be the same around the world.

As the B.1.1.7 variant continues to spread throughout the United States. The nation should consider that there may be an increase in the risk of deaths. If the variant really is more lethal and contagious, the importance of administering the vaccine becomes even more important as it is effective in fending off this strain of Coronavirus.