Expert: UK variant should be thought of as a new virus

Dean of National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine says UK mutation affects young people more than original strain.

Tags: Coronavirus
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Coronavirus ward, Ichilov Hospital Tel Aviv
Coronavirus ward, Ichilov Hospital Tel Aviv
Eitan Elhadez / TPS

An expert warned Monday that the British coronavirus variant of the coronavirus acts so differently from the original strain that it should be thought of as "almost a brand-new virus."

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, made the warning in an interview with CNN.

“We have to think about the B.1.1.7 variant as almost a brand new virus," he said. “It’s acting differently from anything we’ve seen before, in terms of transmissibility, in terms of affecting young people, so we have to take this very seriously.”

The British mutation has been found to be much more contagious than the original strain and is believed to have become the dominant strain in numerous outbreaks in the US and the EU.

Dr. Hotez was optimistic that the coronavirus could still be defeated in the coming months because the vaccines which have been developed against the virus have proven effective even against the British mutation.

“All the vaccines seem to work just as well against this UK-B.1.1.7 variant … so that is really good news,” he told CNN.

“But if you’re not vaccinated, you have to behave as though you’re highly vulnerable to this virus. This is not a time to get sick,” he warned.



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