A new variant of the coronavirus with a concerning cluster of mutations has been identified in the UK, leading to calls for further surge testing to contain its spread.
The variant, known as B1525, has been identified 33 times, according to researchers from the University of Edinburgh. It was first spotted in the UK on December 15 and then about a fortnight later in Nigeria.
It contains the E484K mutation, which appears to lessen the effectiveness of existing vaccines and is also seen in strains of the virus that appear to have originated in South Africa and in Brazil.
It also contains two mutations known as deletions. One has shown signs in laboratory tests of increasing the virus’s ability to infect new cells; the other