Covid: Most contagious variants as Omicron strain sees UK case rise again

The UK’s leading scientists have warned the country will see a new wave of Covid-19 as infections have started to increase thanks to two more Omicron variants.

Last week, new figures showed that the number of Covid-19 infections in the UK rose by 43 percent in the week following the platinum anniversary celebrations, with the two new sub-variants responsible for the sudden increase.

In addition, about 1.4 million people in the UK had the coronavirus in the week ending June 11, compared to about 990,000 the week before.

1.4 million people in the UK had the coronavirus in the week ending June 11

(PA wire)

During a briefing by the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) in May, Professor Christina Pagel said, “The new wave is starting now.”

She added: “We will have another wave of infections this month. Now hopefully not as high as the previous two waves and maybe lower. But we can’t count on that and in any case we will see more people get infected.”

These are the most contagious Covid-19 strains since the start of the pandemic:

The original virus:

The new coronovirus SARS-CoV-2 first emerged in Wuhan, China in 2019. By March 2021, Covid-19 had spread across the globe, closing national lockdowns and borders as the world faced a global health pandemic. .

Roughly eleven variants are currently being monitored, including the well-known Alpha and Delta variants.

But the only species that is currently a concern of concern comes from the Omicron family. This means it is more contagious, can cause more serious illness and is less susceptible to public health measures.

alpha

The Alpha variant was first detected in the UK and a variant of concern in December 2020. In December 2021, it was identified in 192 locations worldwide.

The alpha variant has 17 mutations compared to the original Wuhan strain.

The UK’s leading scientists have warned the country will see another wave of Covid-19

(EPA)

It is about 1.5 times more transmissible than previous Covid variants, and the risk of it leading to death is about 1.6 times higher, according to the BMJ

Delta:

The Delta species, originally identified in India in late 2020, has spread around the world and is believed to have triggered a third wave in the UK in the fall of 2021.

According to data analyzed by ONS, the risk of death from Covid-19 was estimated to be 67 percent lower after an Omicron infection compared to Delta, making Delta more deadly.

The risk of death from Covid-19 was estimated to be 67 percent lower after an Omicron infection compared to Delta

(PA wire)

A study by The Lancet also found that the Delta variant could lead to a higher burden of care than with the Alpha strain, as it reported that people in England double the hospitalization risk with Delta than with Alpha.

Omicron

Omicron took hold in the UK in late 2021, dampening Christmas and New Year’s plans.

It was first discovered in southern Africa in November 2021 and now has several sub-variants, two of which are currently causing a new wave of concern.

In mid-May, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) increased the classification of the Covid-19 variants Omicron BA.4 and Omicron BA.5 to variants of concern. Before that, BA.2 – also known as Stealth Omicron – was the prominent variant in the UK.

Omicron is more transmissible than the original virus first seen in Wuhan and Delta.

Its ability to evade immunity may be because more than 30 of the variant’s mutations are on the virus’s spike protein that attaches to human cells.

However, the variant is generally milder than infections caused by the Delta variant, although it can still cause serious infections and death.

At a SAGE conference in January, they cited an analysis from Imperial College London suggesting that Omicron reduces the risk of hospitalization by 35-65 percent compared to Delta in the most recent wave for those who received two doses of a vaccine. .

Furthermore, during the peak of the Omicron wave, Imperial researchers found that the risk of reinfection with Omicron is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant.

Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said, “The omicron variant is responsible for the biggest increase since 2019.”

The new BA.4 and BA.5 strains have more in common with the earlier, more dangerous Alpha and Delta variants, as they may have evolved to promote infection of lung cells, according to preliminary data from Kei Sato of the University of Tokyo and colleagues. †

While the highly transmissible original Omicron targeted upper respiratory tract tissue, which may be why the infections are milder in most people.

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