According to a study published on Wednesday, it was revealed that the coronavirus strain that had emerged in Britain last year, is 64% deadlier than preexisting strains of the virus, AFP reported. This confirms the advice that was given to the British government before. The strain is now spreading internationally. Multiple strains of the virus have been emerging since last year in the world that has been making controlling the virus, more difficult.
Studies in the UK have shown that this strain is not only more transmissible, as the British authorities had warned in January, but is also 40% more deadly.
Findings from one of those studies, led by the University of Exeter, were published in the BMJ Wednesday.
Researchers compared data for nearly 55,000 people who tested positive in the community -- rather than in hospitals -- between October and January and followed them for 28 days.
Participants were matched on a range of factors like age, sex and ethnicity.
They found that those infected with the new variant, known as B.1.1.7, were 64 percent more likely to die, representing an increase in deaths from 2.5 to 4.1 in every 1,000 detected cases.
Community testing tends to pick up more low risk cases, but the researchers said that if the findings were able to be generalised to other populations, the variant has the "potential to cause substantial additional mortality compared with previously circulating variants".
Simon Clarke, Associate Professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, said the increased lethality added to its faster spread meant that "this version of the virus presents a substantial challenge to healthcare systems and policymakers.
"It also makes it even more important people get vaccinated when called," he added.
Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, University of Southampton said the findings highlighted the dangers in allowing the virus to spread widely.
"The more COVID-19 there is, the more chance there is of a new variant of concern emerging," he said, adding that this included the possibility of variants that could affect vaccination.
While most vaccine-makers have said evidence shows immunisations already developed are effective against the variant that emerged from Britain, other variants like the one spreading in South Africa have mutations that have led to concerns they could escape the immune response.