Brazil strain: New Covid mutation ‘concerning’- Boris Johnson opens up on new virus fears
Boris Johnson admits concern over Brazilian coronavirus strain
Taking questions from MPs at a committee in Parliament this afternoon, Mr Johnson said he was “very concerned” by the variant. The strain was first discovered in the South American country’s Amazonas state but has already spread to Japan.
The new variant has 12 mutations from the original strain of COVID-19 and is thought to be more infectious.
Implying a ban on travel to and from Brazil similar to the bans put in place, the Prime Minister said: “We’ve already had tough measures to protect this country from new infections coming in from abroad and we’re taking steps to do that in respect of the Brazilian variant.”
Warning there was a chance the new strain could render the coronavirus vaccine useless, he admitted there was still very little known about the Brazilian mutation.
He said: “I think it’s fair to say there are still lots of questions we have about that variant and we don’t know, for instance, any more than we know from whether the South African variant is vaccine-resistant.”
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Mutations of the virus have been found in Kent here in the UK and in South Africa, with both more transmissible than the original virus.
The strain from Kent is up to 70 percent more contagious and has led to a surge in cases across the UK.
While it is thought the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will be unaffected by the variant, question marks remain over whether it can still act as an antidote to the South African mutation.
Scientists at the Ministry of Defence’s Porton Down are currently carrying out tests to determine the dangers of the new evolution of coronavirus.
Updating MPs at the Liaison committee on their research, he said the Government has “no evidence at present to think that these strains are vaccine-resistant”.
More to follow…
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