The British government said Tuesday that it is “closely following” the spread of a new sub-mutant of the Corona virus, in light of the high number of infections in the country, and it has not yet been determined whether it is more contagious.
The mutant AY4.2 is a sub-brand of the highly contagious Delta that first appeared in India and caused an outbreak in late spring and early summer.
A government spokesman said, “We are following the new mutant closely and will not hesitate to take action if necessary,” but stressed that “nothing suggests that it is spreading at a higher speed.”
This comes at a time when the United Kingdom is recording an increasing number of infections, exceeding 40,000 every day, which is a much higher rate than recorded in the rest of Europe, and Britain has counted in total about 139,000 deaths from the epidemic.
Some scholars attribute the deterioration of the epidemiological situation, especially among adolescents and young adults, to the poor vaccination of minors, the reduction in the immunity of the elderly vaccinated too early, and the lifting of preventive measures in England in July.
But the director of the Institute of Genetics at the University of California, Francois Ballou, believes that the new mutation “is not the cause of the recent rise in the number of infections in the United Kingdom.”
The researcher added that their appearance does not constitute “a situation similar to the appearance of the alpha and delta mutant, which were more transmissible (50% or more) than all strains at that time.”
The new mutant is almost non-existent outside the UK, except for three cases recorded in the US and a few in Denmark, and has almost disappeared there since.
Work is underway to test its resistance to vaccines.