UK government scientific advisers said the Covid-19 variant now predominant in the country may be up to 70 percent more deadly than previous variants, underscoring concerns about how mutations may change the characteristics of the disease.
The findings are from the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, published Friday on the government's website. The study is build on preliminary research released on 21 January, reports the Economic Times.
The group included experts from universities and public agencies across the UK. The new report is based on analysis of a dozen studies that found the so-called Kent variant, named after the county where it was first identified, is likely 30 percent to 70 percent more deadly than other variants.
The studies compared hospitalisation and death rates among people infected with the variant and those infected with other variants.
"Results of the analysis are worrisome," said Dr David Strain, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School and the clinical lead for Covidat the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.
"The higher transmissibility means that people who were previously at low risk of catching Covid (particularly younger fitter females) are now catching it and ending up in hospital," Strain said.