London: The new variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom, is growing rapidly and affecting a greater proportion of people under 20, according to a study.
A collaborative team of researchers from Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh, Public Health England, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Birmingham, and the Covid-19 Genomics U.K Consortium evaluated the relationship between transmission and the frequency of the new variant over a period of time.
“There is a consensus among all analyses that the VOC (the Variant of Concern or new variant) has a substantial transmission advantage,” the study said.
According to the study, the reproduction number for the new variant is currently between 1.4 and 1.8. It stated that the estimated difference between the reproduction number of the mutation is 0.4 to 0.7 higher as compared to other variants of the virus.
The reproduction number reflects the number of people expected to get infected by a single individual in a homogeneous population.
The study also found that individuals under 20 years make up for a higher proportion of coronavirus disease cases infected with the new variant. However, the researchers said that it is too early to determine the mechanism behind this change.
They suggested that it may be partly because the lockdown was in force in some places but schools were open.