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11th Feb 2021

Covid-19: Kent variant predicted to become world’s most dominant strain


The strain has been found in over 50 different countries since it was first detected in Kent in September 2020

The coronavirus variant first identified in Kent is predicted to be the most dominant strain in the world.

Professor Sharon Peacock, from the University of Cambridge – the head of the UK’s genetic surveillance programme – told the BBC she expects it to spread rapidly across the world, just as it had done across the country since it was first detected in September 2020.

Since its discovery, the strain has been found in more than 50 different countries across the globe. Its rapid spread across the UK saw the introduction of the lockdown measures which have been in place across the country since in early January.

“The new variant that has swept the country is going to sweep the world, in all probability,” Prof Peacock told the Newscast podcast. ”

She also said that she expects that work sequencing variants of coronavirus to be required for at least the next decade.

“What’s really affected us at the moment is transmissibility,” she said.

“Once we get on top of it or it mutates itself out of being virulent – causing disease – then we can stop worrying about it. But I think, looking in the future, we’re going to be doing this for years.

“We’re still going to be doing this 10 years down the line, in my view.”

Prof Peacock also said that variants in a virus were inevitable and part of the their normal evolution. Only a very small number could be a concern, she added.

“Variants are normal,” she said. “There are some that we worry about but at the moment the vaccines are effective against the variants that are in the United Kingdom.”