Brazilian Covid variant: your questions answered

Brazilian Covid variant: how close is the new variant to Oxfordshire?

Brazilian Covid variant: how close is the new variant to Oxfordshire?

OVER the weekend it was announced that a new ‘variant of concern’, that originated in Brazil, had now been detected in the UK. 

Surge testing is taking place from today as cases were found in both England and Scotland.

The variant is said to have originated from the Brazilian city of Manaus. 

Here are your questions answered: 

Where in the UK has it been found?

On Sunday, Public Health England [PHE], said that three cases of the new variant had been found in south Gloucestershire. 

Two of the cases came from the same household.

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One of the individuals who ah tested positive in the household had returned from Brazil earlier last month before the hotel quarantine system was introduced.

How close are the new cases to Oxfordshire?

The five postcodes that are being tested are approximately an hour and a half drive from the centre of Oxford

Will surge testing now take place?

Mass surge testing has started to take place in Gloucestershire this morning.

All residents over 16, who live in five postcode areas, have been invited to come forward for testing – even if they do not have symptoms.

Why is this variant one of ‘concern’?

The variant, scientifically known as ‘P1’, was labeled as a ‘variant of concern’ as it shares some of the important mutations that were identified in the South African variant. 

It is thought to have originated in Manaus, a city in Brazil, but has since been found in Japan and a number of European countries. 

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Is the variant more transmissible?

Protein mutations in the Brazilian variant mean it is more likely to be more transmissible than the original strain.

It is not known yet whether the new variant is more transmissible than other variants found in the UK, such as the one found in Kent. 

Does the vaccine work against it?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the spike protein mutations affect the virus’ ‘antigenic profile’ which may affect the ‘ability of antibodies generated through a previous natural infection or through vaccination to recognise and neutralise the virus’. 

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