The new, more contagious variant of Covid, first identified in the UK, has now been confirmed in over 20 countries and territories around the world.
While that is concerning, it’s not surprising. The first case can be traced back to late September in the south of England, meaning there was ample time for it to spread undetected around the UK and into other countries.
Now that the alarm has been raised, scientists around the globe are actively searching for and tracking this variant that is thought to pass more easily between people. And the more you seek, the more you can potentially find.
More than 50 countries have imposed travel restrictions on the UK in recent days to help prevent more spread. But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned against punishing nations that transparently share information, saying “only if countries are looking and testing effectively will you be able to pick up variants and adjust strategies to cope”.
Viruses continually mutate and future new versions of Covid will occur. Science will need to keep up.