Coronavirus

UK mutation: expert warns new variant could be "unstoppable"

“If this variant of the coronavirus consolidates itself, it will be unstoppable,” a leading molecular biologist at at Madrid's Universidad Autónoma said.

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Un experto, sobre la nueva cepa de Reino Unido: "Si este virus se impone en España va a ser imparable"
Eduardo Parra Europa Press

A leading Spanish scientist has warned that the new coronavirus variant identified in the UK could prove to be “unstoppable” if it manages to gain a foothold with some cases of the strain potentially having been identified in Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed London and the South East of England under a tier-four lockdown, the strictest yet imposed by the government since the pandemic began, last weekend as the number of cases in the English capital attributed to the new variant reached almost two-thirds of all those reported up to mid-December.

Hancock: new coronavirus variant is "out of control"

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told The Andrew Marr Show on 20 December that the new variant is “out of control” but scientists have been swift to reassure the public that while the strain is believed to be more transmissible that does not mean it is more virulent. Johnson, using figures from an Imperial College, London, study said the new variant could be up to 70 percent more transmissible than other forms of the coronavirus so far identified.

Spanish expert issues grim warning on new strain

Speaking on Spanish television on Tuesday José Antonio López Guerrero, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at Madrid’s Universidad Autónoma and head of the same department’s Neurovirology investigative group, warned that the new variant could be harder to control than previous strains. “If this variant of the coronavirus consolidates itself, it will be unstoppable.

López Guerrero noted that one of the dangers of the mutation is that it has been detected in two different parts of the human body than those attacked by the original pathogen.

César Carballo, head of the emergency department at the Ramón y Cajal Hospital in Madrid, added his opinion on the new variant during the same interview: “It is not necessarily more virulent, but it is more dangerous. Anything that infects cells at a much quicker rate is a tremendous handicap.”