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Study finds UK variant of COVID-19 is not more deadly

Apr 13, 2021, 9:03 AM
UK variant study in Utah...
(Workers take down information from residents as they receive COVID-19 tests at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
(Workers take down information from residents as they receive COVID-19 tests at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

A new study found the so-called UK variant of COVID-19 does not cause more severe illness or death, in contrast to some previous reports. 

The study was released Monday in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

The UK variant study

The strain, known as B.1.1.7, is now the dominant form of Covid-19 in Britain and the US. This study looked at people who were first infected with the variant in November and December, and compared them to patients with another strain.

“We were able to do this real-time analysis because we were in the eye of the storm,” said a lead author of the study, Dan Frampton, a bioinformatician at University College London to NBC News.

Those with the UK variant were not at increased risk of becoming severely ill or dying.

Variant appears to be more contagious, if not more deadly

Those patients did however have greater quantities of virus, or higher “viral loads,” but it is not yet clear why. That could explain why it is more contagious.

“What we have seen across the globe is that more easily transmissible variants will … outcompete those variants that don’t spread as easily,” said Dr. John Brownstein, the chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital on ABC News.

But health experts have said the vaccine will help stop mutations of the virus, like the UK variant, because the vaccine stops transmission and it lessens the chance of hospitalization or death.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Study finds UK variant of COVID-19 is not more deadly