Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released their recent survey on the new COVID-19 variant known as B117. ONS conducted the survey nationwide from November 15, 2020 to January 16, 2021. Based on their findings, individuals with the new strain were more prone to coughing, sore throat, or fatigue. The ONS also stated that “loss of taste, loss of smell, and high fevers were significantly less common in the new variant.” These findings are in contrast with the three main COVID-19 symptoms: coughing, high fevers, and loss of smell and taste.
A New Global Threat
As it is 70% more contagious than other COVID-19 variants, the fast-spreading UK strain is posing a real threat to the world’s efforts against the coronavirus. This new variant was first detected in England last December and has since spread exponentially across the globe. Health officials have even predicted that it would become the dominant variant in the US by March. With its impact immediately felt, scientists are striving to learn more about this new variant.
What is widely acknowledged is that the B117 variant has a mutation which makes it capable of binding more strongly to human cells. Whether or not it is deadlier requires further studies. Reading University’s Simon Clarke has theorized that due to its stronger binding, this new variant could trigger “a stronger overreaction by the immune system, which causes the worst disease, and can be fatal.”
Still an Ongoing Fight
The Philippines’ first batch of new variant patients has already been confirmed with 17 verified cases so far. Subsequently, the government has since imposed stricter overseas travel restrictions. 12 of the reported new variant cases were found in Bontoc, Mountain Province with the infection source still unidentified. The DOH has begun its biosurveillance in the region to hopefully trace the possible variant source and find other potential cases.
The spread of the new COVID-19 variant coincides with the coronavirus reaching its grim milestone of 100 million cases worldwide last January 27. These developments highlight how the world is still deep within its battle against the disease. While the developed vaccines are slowly making their way to people across the globe, it is important to be mindful that the disease has neither slowed down nor stopped its spread and will probably not do so in the near future.
As we wait for the vaccines to be validated and distributed globally, we must continue our detection and isolation efforts for the positive cases to conduct immediate treatment and minimize the virus’ reach. MEDTEK is an official distributor of equipment and devices for antibody, antigen and PCR testing. For accredited testing organizations and LGUs interested in purchasing this products, please feel free to fill out the form below.