United Kingdom performs house-to-house tests in hunt for new COVID-19 variant

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The cities are the latest in a growing list of locations where Covid-19 mutations have been found with 11 and 32 cases in Bristol and Liverpool, respectively.

The eight areas are Hanwell, west London (W7), Tottenham, north London (N17), Mitcham, south London (CR4), Walsall in the West Midlands (WS2), Broxbourne in Hertfordshire (EN10), Maidstone, Kent, (ME15), Woking in Surrey (GU21) and Southport, Merseyside (PR9).

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed the news yesterday (02/02) saying 11 cases of concern have been discovered.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan told BBC Breakfast that people in affected areas should be "thinking twice about their actions", working from home if possible and "limiting even more" how much time they spend outside their home.

Dr Julian Tang, honorary associate professor at the University of Leicester, described the finding as "a worrying development, though not entirely unexpected". The report added that the Liverpool area had identified about 32 cases of original coronavirus that also have a similar E484K mutation.

"An acquisition event means that the E484K mutation has been acquired by the B.1.1.7 variant during the process of virus replication and selection for virus variants that are more able to grow in the presence of an antibody response".

"Therefore, there is concern that vaccines and previous COVID-19 infection may provide less protection against this new Kent variant, which may affect the current vaccination efforts". To be sure, the variant has a mutation of N501Y, which is one of the primary reasons for that could lead to the virus being more contagious or easy to spread.

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However, they are less effective than against the variant that has been around since the start of the pandemic.

Several laboratory studies have found that vaccines and antibody therapy are less effective against the South African variant.

"We must continue to act with caution, not least because of the renewed challenges posed by new variants of the coronavirus", he told lawmakers.

On Tuesday, the government instructed the Swedish Public Health Agency to increase national surveillance of different coronavirus variants, according to Swedish TT News Agency.

"This report would seem to suggest that under conditions of very high levels of virus replication even the most stringent of border controls, although they may delay spread, are unlikely to prevent the appearance of new variants", said Jonathan Stoye, virologist at The Francis Crick Institute.

"Yes, you can think about completely shutting the borders or having quarantine, [but] what's the endgame in that?"

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