North East Post
Weekend Edition
4:27 PM 26th November 2021

COVID-19 Variants Identified In The UK

Latest updates on SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant known as B.1.1.529 as a variant under investigation (VUI).

The first genomes of this variant were uploaded to the international GISAID database on 22 November. Genomes have now been uploaded from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong but the extent of spread is not yet determined. No cases have been identified in the UK.

B.1.1.529 has a large number of mutations in the gene coding for the spike protein, and also in other parts of the viral genome. These are potentially biologically significant mutations which may change the behaviour of the virus with regards to immune escape, transmissibility or susceptibility to treatments, but this has not been proven. More investigation is required to fully determine the extent of these mutations’ impact.

UKHSA is monitoring the situation closely, in partnership with scientific and public health organisations across the world.

UKHSA’s most recent variant technical briefing can be found on GOV.UK.