The government are keeping a “close eye” on a new mutation of the Delta variant as infections are growing.
Downing Street are monitoring the AY4.2 variant and said that there is no evidence it can spread more easily, but they will not “hesitate to take action” if required.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “It’s something we’re keeping a very close eye on.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that this variant … the AY4.2 one … is more easily spread.
“There’s no evidence for that, but as you would expect we’re monitoring it closely and won’t hesitate to take action if necessary.”
Francois Balloux, professor of computational systems biology at University College London and director of the UCL Genetics Institute, said: “The A222V was found in the B.1.177 lineage that swept Europe in the summer of 2020, but careful follow-up analyses pointed to the lineage likely having no inherent transmissibility advantage and that its spread was most likely caused by demographic processes.”
Prof Balloux explained, “As AY.4.2 is still at fairly low frequency, a 10% increase in its transmissibility could have caused only a small number of additional cases.
“As such it hasn’t been driving the recent increase in case numbers in the UK.”
He said, that the emergence of another more transmissible strain would be “suboptimal.”
He added, “This is not a situation comparable to the emergence of Alpha and Delta that were far more transmissible (50% or more) than any strain in circulation at the time.
“Here we are dealing with a potential small increase in transmissibility that would not have a comparable impact on the pandemic.”
He told Sky News, “The disease is rising to another peak and this peak could be as serious as the last.”
The scientist is baffled as to why people are no longer wearing face masks on public transport or inside buildings.
Sir David said it is a “very simple operation” which will most certainly help to reduce the spread of Covid.