UK Covid variant not linked to more serious infections

UK Covid variant not linked to more serious infections

A healthcare worker takes a nasal swab sample from a Watthana district resident for a Covid-19 test. (Reuters photo)
A healthcare worker takes a nasal swab sample from a Watthana district resident for a Covid-19 test. (Reuters photo)

The UK variant of the novel coronavirus does not increase the severity of Covid-19 compared to other strains, according to research published Tuesday.

Findings by British medical journal The Lancet did however confirm the variant’s increased transmissibility.

The variant, known as B117, is now the dominant viral strain across much of Europe, and previous studies had shown it was linked to a higher likelihood of death than normal variants

The first local cases of Covid-19 with the UK variant of the virus have been reported in the Thong Lor cluster in Bangkok.

But two studies published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases and The Lancet Public Health journals found no evidence that people with B117 experience worse symptoms or a greater risk of developing long Covid than those infected with different variants.

Nonetheless, researchers did find the variant was associated with a higher viral load and reproduction rate than normal variants.

Commenting on the first study, experts from Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases said the findings were in contrast to three previous studies suggesting that B117 was deadlier than other variants.

Yet they pointed out the Lancet study had the benefit of having used whole-genome sequencing as well as a good variety of patient and disease outcomes.

The Singapore experts, who were not involved in the research, said that while the findings were reassuring the results required further confirmation in larger studies. 

A second study analysed self-reported data from nearly 37,000 British users of a Covid-19 symptom app who tested positive between September and December last year.

That study found that the B117 variant had a reproduction rate 1.35 times higher than normal coronavirus variants, but also found no evidence of increased disease severity.


  • dominant: more noticeable than the other parts or aspects of something - เด่น
  • finding (noun): results, what people "find" or discover by doing some research or activity - ผลของการสืบค้น, ผลของการค้นหา
  • genome (noun): the total amount of genetic or DNA information in the chromosomes of a living thing - กลุ่มยีนในเซลล์ของสิ่งมีชีวิต, จีโนม
  • likelihood: the chance that something will happen - ความเป็นไปได้
  • pointed out: mentioned something in order to give somebody information about it or make them notice it - ชี้ให้เห็น, บ่งชี, ชี้, ระบุ
  • reassuring (adj): making you feel less worried or uncertain about something - ซึ่งทำให้กังวลน้อยลง
  • sequence (verb): to identify the order in which a set of genes or parts of molecules are arranged - จัดลำดับ, จัดอนุกรม
  • severity: seriousness - ความรุนแรง
  • strain: a particular type of virus, animal, insect, or plant  - สายพันธุ์
  • variant: a thing that is a slightly different form or type of something else - สิ่งที่ผันแปร, สิ่งที่แตกต่างกัน
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