The UK Investigating New Virus’ Variant Called B.1.621

The UK Investigating New Virus' Variant

Health authorities in the UK said they were investigating another new variant of the Covid-19, called B.1.621. Variants of this mutation have been found in the country, having been known previously in several other countries includes the United States, when the UK was struggling with the Delta variant, the most aggressive Covid-19 variant today.

An investigation by Public Health England (PHE) England was announced on Friday, July 23, 2021. They designated B.1,621 as a variant under investigation on Wednesday, July 22, 2021.

So far, 16 cases of infection with the variant virus detected across the country. Ten of which are in London. “The majority of these cases are related to international travel,” said PHE last weekend.

PHE also reports that there is no evidence to suggest the variant causes more severe disease or makes the vaccine less effective. However, they are testing in the laboratory to understand better mutations’ impact on virus behavior.

“And will take all appropriate public health interventions to identify and follow up cases to limit the spread of variants,” said PHE.

According to PHE, this variant has also been found in the United States (592 cases), Portugal (56), Japan (47), Switzerland (41), and India (23). The GISAID Initiative, an international non-profit organization that studies viral genetics, has also collected 1,230 samples of Covid-19 cases containing B.1,621 infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO), explains that the first recorded case of B.1,621 came from Colombia in January 2021. Since then, it documented in 26 countries in different regions, and GISAID data shows an increase in the number of countries reporting cases of this new variant infection throughout June and July. Nearly half of cases have been reported in the United States.

Naturally, viruses will indeed mutate from time to time, including SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. So far, many versions have been detected. These versions are different from those first identified in China at the end of 2019. While many mutations don’t change the virus’ behavior, some can give rise to variants that are more infectious, more lethal, or more resistant to vaccines.