A group of British scientists on Wednesday published a worrying study on a new version of the corona virus, which is currently spreading in Britain. They warn that the new virus is highly contagious, saying more countermeasures may be needed, such as closing schools and universities. Scientists point out that even these measures may not be enough and we need to rush to deliver the vaccine.
A new study published by the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Tropical Health and Medicine has not yet been reviewed for publication in a scientific journal. This study compares a set of models as predictors of data related to infections, hospitalization, and other variables. Other researchers are studying the British version in the laboratory to see if it is biologically different from the Corona virus.
In the new study, no evidence was found that the new version was more lethal than other versions; But researchers estimate that the new virus is 56 percent more contagious. On Monday, the British government presented an initial estimate of 70%.
Bill Hange, An epidemiologist at Harvard University School of Public Health who did not participate in the new study, said the study provides a convincing explanation of the past and possible future of the new version. “The general message of the study is solid and consistent with what we have seen from other sources of information,” he said in an interview. Does it matter? Yes. Is there evidence of an increase in transfers? Yes. Will the advent of the new version affect the coming months? Yes.”
The set of small mutations found in many samples of the Corona virus in the UK may help the virus to spread more easily. The new variant of the Corona virus is called B.1.1.7
The new version of the corona virus, which caught the attention of British researchers earlier this month, spread rapidly in London and the East of England. This version carries 23 mutations, some of which may make the virus more contagious. The authors of recent research have found more evidence that the version in question is actually being published faster than other versions. For example, researchers have ruled out the possibility that the new corona virus is so prevalent that it spreads to more crowded places. The data recorded by Google, which showed the mobility of people’s mobile phones over time, did not show such a difference.
The researchers developed various mathematical models and examined each as an explanation for the spread of the new coronavirus. They examined which outbreak model best predicted the number of new cases as well as the number of hospitalizations and deaths that occurred. The researchers then predicted what the new version would do over the next six months and developed models that applied different levels of constraint. Researchers warn that without widespread vaccine availability, the rate of hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit and deaths by 2021 could exceed 2020 figures.
Researchers have found that closing schools until February could buy some time for Britain; But lifting these restrictions will lead to a sharp increase in cases. Due to the higher transmission rate, the country must vaccinate a higher percentage of the population to achieve collective safety. The researchers found that in order to reduce the pressure on intensive care units, the vaccination rate should be increased from 200,000 a week to 2 million a week.
The researchers warn that their model, like any other model, is based on a set of hypotheses, some of which may not be true. There are uncertainties as to whether the new version of the coronavirus is more contagious in children and, if so, to what extent.
Alessandro Vespignani “Unfortunately, this is another surprising ending,” Northwestern University, which did not participate in the recent study, said of the new estimates. While we were all happy about the vaccine, there is a possibility of an epidemiological change that will make it more complicated and dangerous in the next few months. “There is evidence that the new version is more portable and we will probably need to work harder to control the prevalence.”
Dr. Hange warned that the model used in the study had shortcomings. The researchers hypothesized that all people were under the age of 20 and had a 50 percent chance of transmitting the disease. Dr. Hange said that while this may be true for young children, it is not true for adolescents. “This is the weakest part of their model,” he said. However, he said the study provides an overview of the country’s possible future, and if not taken seriously, such events could easily happen.