6 Things To Know About The New COVID Mutation
1. What We Know about The COVID Variant So Far?
The new COVID 19 (SARS-CoV-2) mutation already has a name – it’s VUI-202012/01. It doesn’t roll off the tongue, but there’s some logic to it. VUI means “Variant Under Investigation” which started December (12) this year – so 20212. The most important aspect of this variant is N501Y which is a mutation in the spike protein. This variant makes the virus more effective at binning to ACE2 receptors in human cells. As a result, this causes the virus to accelerate transmission. Currently, it is spreading across London and the South East but other areas of the country are equally vulnerable as it becomes the dominant strain. It’s up to 70% more transmittable – which means it can spread from person to person quicker and infect more creating exponential transmission rates.
70% More Spreadable
A 0.4 R-rate Increase
We offer free quotes for our GBAC ISSA COVID 19 Cleaning.
2. How Was The new Coronavirus Mutation Detected?
The mutation was spotted by the Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium whose responsibility is to run random genetic sequencing of positive covid-19 samples around the UK. It also helps to monitor and assist in the development of treatments and vaccines. COG-UK is made up of an innovative partnership of NHS organisations, the four Public Health Agencies of the UK, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and over twelve academic partners. It is supported with £20 million in funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
3. Why Is The New Mutation Becoming the Dominant Strain?
The main reason the new variation is dominating is its ability to spread. The Sars-Cov-2 virus has approximately 30’000 letters of genetic. When the virus replicates those letters are all copied across, creating a perfect or near-perfect replication. However, with this new mutation 23 letters in the viral genetic code that have changed, and of those 17 letters are thought to assist in transmission. The ability to transmit more frequently and easily has meant this new strain will likely dominate.
4. Are There Mutations In Other Parts of The World?
On 13 December there were 1108 reported cases of this new variant in the UK. As of Saturday 20th December, there are 1,623 cases have appeared in nearly 60 different local authorities predominantly in the southeast of England with fewer cases appearing in Wales and Scotland.
Nick Loman, professor of microbial genomics “There are no data to suggest it had been imported from abroad, so it is likely to have evolved in the UK”. It would have done so through a process of natural selection, and probably as early as September (See this Nature article in September 2020 discussing the potential impacts of mutations).
5. Should We Be Worried About the New Mutation?
The word mutation sounds scary, but it’s a completely normal course of virus evolution as it replicates and new strains take precedence through natural selection. A vast majority of virus mutations are infective. They aren’t passed on to the next linage as there is no evolutionary advance gained (e.g. the ability to replicate quicker). While a mutation in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, this particular mutation as far as we know at the moment isn’t more lethal. It is, however around 70% more transmittable. The government’s advice is to remain safe with the usual hands, face, space guidance. There are, however, stricter measures in place and a new tier 4 introduced restricting travel and the mixing of households.
6. How Can You Stop It From Spreading?
Sadly Christmas gatherings have been canceled this year. But this should assist to some extent in slowing the spread of the virus, along with preventative measures of the hands, face, space guidance. However, going into the new year companies should be proactive. Besides preventive cleans of offices, before employees return, they should also think about a continuity strategy if the new variant affects work. CICS applies a range of COVID cleaning services from SWAB testing of surfaces to full ULV fogging of areas. If you would like to discuss your COVID continuity strategy we’re on a call to help during the pandemic so get in touch if you need assistance.
COVID 19 Cleaning Services
SWAB Surface Testing
COVID 19 can remain or surfaces several days after transmission. At CICS our cleaning technicians test all surfaces using our COVID 19 Swab testing kits.
CICS use specialist Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) fogging which kills 99.999% of all harmful pathogens including COVID-19 and its variants.
Precautionary Disinfection and Cleaning
In addition to treating offices, warehouses and factories, and other commercial and industrial settings, we also provide a preventative cleaning service for these areas.