December 22nd, the WHO released relevant information reported by the United Kingdom about the mutant novel coronavirus. On December 14, the United Kingdom reported to the WHO that a new variant of COVID-19 had been discovered through virus gene sequencing.
Preliminary analysis shows that the variant is more likely to spread between people, with an estimated 40%-70% increase in contagion, and an increase of 0.4 in the transmission index between 1.5 and 1.7. As of December 13, 1,108 cases of the mutant virus had been detected in the United Kingdom.
Previously, there had been an unexpected increase in COVID-19 cases in the southeastern England, and an epidemiological study and virological investigation was launched earlier in December to find the variant.
Between October 5 and December 13, the notification rate of new cases more than tripled in 14 days. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, 5% to 10% of COVID-19 have been routinely sequenced in the UK, and 4% of COVID-19 in southeastern England has been routinely sequenced.
Between 5 October and 13 December, more than 50% of the strains in southeastern England were all of this variant. Retrospective studies found that the variant first appeared in Kent in southeastern England on September 20, and most cases infected with the variant were under the age of 60.
WHO recommends further epidemiological and virological studies to understand the changes in the infectious and pathogenicity of mutant viruses.
WHO recommends that all countries increase routine sequencing of COVID-19, where possible, and share data on viral gene sequences, especially reporting whether the same mutant virus has been found.
All countries are required to assess the local level of transmission of the virus and take appropriate prevention and control measures.