By Lucky Uwakina (AGENDAWATCHDOG0 – India’s Covid variant is now dominant in four local authorities in England and its rapid spread could jeopardise plans to ease lockdown, experts fear.
Analysis by one of the UK’s biggest variant trackers warns the strain is focused in hotspots Bolton and neighbour Blackburn with Darwen, where outbreaks have grown by 93 and 86 per cent in a week, respectively, with more than half of lab-checked cases proven to be the Indian strain.
The mutant B.1.617.2 virus is also thought to be behind half of all Covid infections in London, Bedford and South Northamptonshire, although outbreaks in these areas are still small.
Boris Johnson said in a statement to Parliament yesterday that the variant was ‘of increasing concern’, warning that a strain that could slip past vaccines would have ‘potential to cause even greater suffering than we endured in January’.
However early lab trials suggest the current vaccines will still protect against the Indian variants but there are concerns that a faster rate of spread could lead to a bigger outbreak, giving more opportunities for people to get reinfected.
AstraZeneca’s Covid vaccine appears to be protecting people from the Indian variant of the virus, reports suggest. And Pfizer said in a report there was ‘no evidence’ its shot would need to be updated to fight off the current variants.