The scientists are working hard to find out the vaccine for the dangerous coronavirus and it's fear grips many across the world. Now, another news of worry is that a new strain named as B.1.1.7 has been widely tracked in the recent cases in the UK.
The country announced an unexpected lockdown on Saturday in London and other parts of UK amidst increase in the number of coronavirus cases after the discovery of new strain of Sars-CoV-2.
According to the researchers, the latest strain is 70 per cent more contagious than other strains of the virus. Much of the new cases in the country are thought to be driven by this variant, with up to 60% of the cases caused by it in London.
Dr Julian Tang, Clinical Virologist at Leicester University explained that, "This is quite normal for viruses like influenza where other types of viruses may infect the same person leading to the emergence of a new hybrid virus. This is just one of the ways that natural viral variation arises."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a press conference, "It is really too early to tell… but from what we see so far it is growing very quickly, it is growing faster than (a previous variant) ever grew, but it is important to keep an eye on this.”
The SARS-CoV-2 has seen several modifications since its discovery in Wuhan, China. However, the UK variant B.1.1.7 has an exceptionally large number of genetic changes according to preliminary genomic characterization, particularly in the spike protein, which is often responsible for how the virus interacts with a human cell.
The reason behind UK going for a surprise lockdown is that this particular strain accounts for growing number of cases in parts of UK, and second, there has been a rise in the number of similar cases as well as regions reporting B.1.1.7 infections.
On Monday, Hong Kong is going to ban all flights arriving from the UK from midnight local time. Hong Kong is the first city in Asia to declare such a halt after a new strain of coronavirus in Britain has been detected. Health Secretary Sophia Chan said more robust and focused steps had to be launched to avoid the further spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. Asian countries, including Japan and South Korea, are closely monitoring the new strain, but have not cancelled UK flights immediately.