UK Health Minister Matt Hancock warns that the other new South Africa SARS-CoV-2 strain could be more infectious than even the new UK B117 Covid strain.
“I’m incredibly worried about the South African variant, and that’s why we took the action that we did to restrict all flights from South Africa,” Hancock told BBC Radio on Monday, January 4.
“This is a very, very significant problem… it’s even more of a problem than UK new variant,” he said.
ITV political editor Robert Peston said on Monday: “According to one of the government’s scientific advisers, the reason for Matt Hancock’s ‘incredible worry’ about the South African COVID-19 variant is that they are not as confident the vaccines will be as effective against it as they are for the UK’s variant.”
“Scientists say the new South African variant is different from others circulating in the country because it has multiple mutations in the important “spike” protein that the virus uses to infect human cells,” he concluded.
He told Times Radio that if the vaccine did not work on the South African variant the shots could be adapted and that would not take a year.
“It might take a month or six weeks to get a new vaccine,” he said.
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