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What we know about the highly contagious new mutant COVID strain

3AW Breakfast
Article image for What we know about the highly contagious new mutant COVID strain

More than 40 across the world have closed their borders to English travellers in a bid to stop a new strain of coronavirus which has swept across the south of England.

The new strain is believed to account for at least 60 per cent of new COVID-19 cases reported in London.

Two travellers from the UK who arrived in NSW have been found to carry the mutated strain of the virus, but it has not been linked to the Northern Beaches outbreak.

Director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham, Professor Willem van Schaik, said the new strain is not more deadly, but it is more contagious.

“It will not cause more serious illness or cause more deaths when people get infected,” he told Stephen Quartermain and Tony Leonard, filling in for Ross and Russel.

“But it is more transmissible which means it is easier to spread from one person to another.

“It’s very difficult to get any very solid data at this moment because this virus or this new variant has been recognised only very recently, but the epidemiological data in England seems to suggest it is more transmissible.”

Professer van Schaik said there’s no suggestion vaccines will not work against the new strain.

“It does look like the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines and the other vaccines that are in development will work on this variant,” he said.

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