“The CDC has contacted UK officials and is reviewing their new mortality data for version B.1.1.7,” the CDN official told CNN on Saturday, using the scientific name of the version first spotted in the UK in November.
While the data aren’t convincing, Johnson said “there is some evidence that the new version … could lead to higher mortality.”
Variants have been found in 22 states in the United States
So far, studies suggest that current vaccines protect the new variant and that wearing masks, social distance, and hand hygiene are key to controlling the spread of the virus.
Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and member of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus transition team, said he had reviewed the UK report, as well as other data that had not been made public, and was “convinced” that the new version was more lethal.
“The data is growing – and I can’t share some of that – which clearly supports that B.1.1.7 causes more serious illnesses and increasing death,” said Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “We already know that the portability of this version has increased, and that’s more of a bad news.”
According to a CDC consultant, it would be ideal for U.S. physicians to be able to check and see how patients with the new variant stand compared to patients infected with other variants.
But Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at the Medical Center at Vanderbilt University, said this could be difficult because genomic sequencing – the laboratory work needed to detect new strains – is not very robust in the United States.
“Currently, our ability to determine if a particular patient has a new strain is very limited, and that really reinforces the idea that other countries have a much greater capacity to do so than we do,” said Schaffner, a member of the CDC Advisory Committee. on immunization practices.
The UK has one of the most powerful genome sequencing programs in the world. Their report details a number of studies that compare the severity of the new version with previous ones.
Referring to the mortality data, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, added that the evidence was not yet strong and the data remained uncertain.
“If you were to buy a man … around the age of 60, the average risk is that roughly 10 out of 1,000 infected people are expected to die unfortunately from the virus. With the new version, roughly 13 or 14 people can be expected to die per 1,000 infected people,” on Friday.
“This kind of change for such an age group will increase from 10 to 13 or 14 out of 1,000 and you will see that there is a similar kind of relative increase in risk in different age groups,” he added. .
The analyzes cited in the UK report also include the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London, the University of Exeter and public health in England.