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lily9889 Rank 4
17.01.2021, 08:32
Covid-19: Brazil virus already in UK ‘not variant of concern’, scientist says

One of two coronavirus variants first detected in Brazil has been found in the UK, says a leading scientist advising the government.

But the version discovered is not the "variant of concern", Prof Wendy Barclay clarified.

The "variant of concern" from Brazil, detected in travellers to Japan, is thought to be more infectious.

It led to travellers from South America and Portugal being banned from entering the UK on Friday.

Prof Wendy Barclay, who is heading a newly-launched project to study the effects of emerging coronavirus mutations called the G2P-UK National Virology Consortium, said: "There are two different types of Brazilian variants and one of them has been detected and one of them has not."

Prof Barclay, who also sits on Nervtag, a committee which advises government on new and emerging respiratory virus threats, said the variant was "probably introduced some time ago" and it "will be being traced very carefully".

She added: "The new Brazilian variant of concern, that was picked up in travellers going to Japan, has not been detected in the UK.

"Other variants that may have originated from Brazil have been previously found."

The body which collects and analyses the genomes of virus samples - Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium (Cog-UK) - said this variant seen in the UK contained one of the mutations found in the Brazilian "variant of concern".

The mutation, also found in the South African variant, has been linked to a reduced antibody response meaning our bodies might be less able to fight it off.

Cog-UK said this alone was not enough to qualify it as a "variant of concern", thought it acknowledged "no internationally agreed definition of a variant of concern has yet been agreed".

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