As scary as the report is, there is a new variant of the coronavirus which has been rapidly spreading throughout Britain that is said to carry mutations that could make children more susceptible to becoming infected with it just as much as adults compared to the previous strain of the virus which affected older people more.
The British’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) which have been tracking the coronavirus variant in a recent briefing with journalists said it had swiftly become the dominant strain in the southern part of Britain and could soon cut across the entire country.
“We now have high confidence that this variant does have a transmission advantage over other virus variants that are currently in the UK,” said Peter Horby, a professor of emerging infectious diseases at Oxford University and chair of NERVTAG.
“There is a hint that it has a higher propensity to infect children,” said Neil Ferguson, a professor and infectious disease epidemiologist at Imperial College London and also a member of NERVTAG.
“We haven’t established any sort of causality on that, but we can see it in the data,” Ferguson said. “We will need to gather more data to see how it behaves going forward.”
The new strain according to scientists is said to be 70% more transmissible than the previous strains in the UK which has caused a number of countries to close their borders with Britain as well as leading to a portion of the country put under severe restrictions over the Christmas period.
One of NERVTAG professor Wendy Barclay who is also a specialist in virology at Imperial stated that among the mutations in the new variants are changes to the way they enter into the human cells which may cause children to be as equally susceptible to the virus just as adults.
“Therefore, given their mixing patterns, you would expect to see more children being infected,” Barclay said.