B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant significantly more dangerous

As coronavirus infection (COVID-19) spreads globally, emerging new variants of acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) syndrome pose a threat to ongoing vaccination efforts. One of these new variables, the United Kingdom variant or the B.1.1.7 version, has now reached many countries and contributed to skyrocketing issues.

Now, researchers at the University of Exeter, NHS Foundation Trust, report a significant increase in mortality risk due to the B.1.1.7 variant of coronavirus respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Also known as the United Kingdom variant, variant B.1.1.7 first appeared in September 2020. From there, it has spread to many countries, including the United States.

In the study, published in British Medical Journal (BMJ), the team studied epidemiological signatures related to the B.1.1.7 variant, including its reproduction number, presentation, and outcome according to S-gene status.

The team aimed to establish any change in disease mortality with the B.1.1.7 variable compared to other SARS-CoV-2 circulation changes.

More mortality

To reach the conclusions of the study, the team estimated the number of SARS-CoV-2 reproductions in the United Kingdom using Public Health England data in March 2020, adding to weekly consensus estimates under Scientific Pandemic Disease Model Group (SPI-M).

When the new variance was reported in December 2020, SPI-M research groups shared data, allowing them to identify the diseases. From there, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) used the data to estimate the greater mobility of the variable.

In January 2021, the team showed an analysis showing a worrying increase in deaths related to the B.1.1.7 variant.

In the current study, the researchers wanted to see if increased risk of death was linked to the new variant. They used a similar cohort study method, a method used to measure vaccine efficacy, that was applied for the Meningitis B vaccine.

In this way, the participants are packed with identical, according to different characteristics.

To reach the conclusions of the study, the team obtained data from 54,906 pairs of participants who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 between October 1, 2020, and January 29, 2021, thereafter to February 12, 2021.

Once the researchers had decided on a study design, within hours, initial estimates showed a significant increase in mortality risk due to the difference B.1.1.7 . They found that the disease-related mortality risk ratio with the difference B.1.1.7 compared to infection with previously circulating changes in people with COVID-19 in the community was 1.64.

There is an increase in deaths from 2.5 to 4.1 per 1,000 cases detected in the same group.

The researchers’ estimates were even higher than the LSHTM estimates. Both findings were combined with a forecast and analysis of researchers from Imperial College, which included data from Scottish admissions.

Further, the team found that the risk of death is increased by infection with the new variant. They said the new variable could add more mortality compared to previously circulated changes.

“This finding has an impact on healthcare capacity planning and national and international control policies, with increased mortality underscoring the argument that more coordinated and rigorous measures are justified to prevent deaths from SARS-CoV-2 reduce it, “the researchers noted in the study.

The team urged future work to explore factors such as geographic location, time, age, gender, ethnicity and poverty critical to paving the way for a better focus on resource allocation, limiting rest , and vaccine circulation strategies.

Also, they plan to translate their decisions into health care decisions promptly. The findings of the study can help health experts to decide on proper mitigation measures to prevent further spread of the virus.

To date, more than 123.5 million SARS-CoV-2 infections have been recorded worldwide. Of these, 2.72 million people have died, and more than 70 million have recovered.

The United States reports the highest number of cases, reaching 29.85 million, followed by Brazil with 11.99 million, India with 11.64 million, Russia with 4.41 million, France with 4.35 million, and the United Kingdom. United with 4.31 million cases.


Magazine Reference:

  • Challen, R., Brooks-Pollock, E., Read, J., Dyson, L., and Tsaneva-Atanasova, K. (2021). Mortality risk in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection of concern 202012/1: a cohort study. British Medical Journal (BMJ). https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n579