A new coronavirus variant discovered in Nigeria has sparked fears it could be even deadlier than the South African one, according to reports.
Experts are concerned a rise in cases of mutant strains this week could impact on lockdown, resulting in restrictions being pushed back.
Cases of the Nigerian mutant strain, labelled B1525, have climbed from 100 at the end of February to 300 this week in the UK, according to figures seen by i.
The UK South African variant, named B1351, has had more than 470 cases this week compared to around 400 a week ago and 150 at the start of February.
Nicola Sturgeon has remained vigilant over worrying variants in Scotland after imposing a strict ‘stay at home’ lockdown in response to the rapid spreading UK strain first identified in Kent.
Government scientific advisors are now worried both the Nigerian and South African variant will be less immune to the vaccines currently being rolled out.
Both variants reportedly carry the E484K mutation which can reduce the protection offered by jabs.
The strain discovered in Nigeria is reportedly “under investigation” but could be stepped up to a “variant of concern” similar to those found in South Africa and Kent.
It comes as under-30s are to be offered an alternative Covid-19 jab to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots, the UK’s vaccine advisory body said.
People aged 18 to 29 will be offered the Pfizer, Moderna or another jab where available.
The AstraZeneca jab rollout is not being halted in the UK and if it is the only one available in their area, people will still be offered that jab regardless of their age.
Health chiefs stressed the benefits of the jab still outweigh the risks and ministers and scientists urged people to continue getting vaccinated.
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