(CMR) A new subtype of the Delta variant is being monitored closely after it was discovered in the United Kingdom. According to a report from the UK Health Security Agency, the AY 4.2 is “on an increasing trajectory” and should be closely monitored.
Scientists continue to stress that soaring transmission rates create new variants and the need to increase vaccination rates around the world remains urgent.
At this time it accounts for an estimated 6% of UK cases for the week of September 27 — the last week with complete sequencing data. It has not yet been classified as a variant of concern but has been detected in the USA and Denmark in smaller numbers.
Little is known about the variant at this stage. However, former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb called for “urgent research” into this Delta offshoot and said it was a “reminder that we need robust systems to identify, characterize new variants.”
The UK has had the highest rate of daily Covid-19 cases and deaths per million people in Western Europe since most pandemic restrictions were dropped in the summer. The UK now has more covid cases than France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined.
Virtually all of England's restrictions were lifted in July, with the events and hospitality sectors returning to full capacity as Johnson urged Britons to “begin to learn to live with this virus.” Experts are urging him to reconsider this approach and re-implement come controls.
On Tuesday, it reported 223 Covid-19 deaths, the highest daily figure since early March, and health leaders are urging the government to reintroduce measures such as mask mandates in enclosed spaces to help ease the pressure on the health system.