New Covid mutation could put our pandemic response at risk

Scientists believe that if a more transmissible virus begins to circulate, it is more likely to become the dominant strain, thus changing our understanding of the R number

27th December, 2020
New Covid mutation could put our pandemic response at risk
Epidemiologists are rethinking their strategies for the virus given the more transmissible nature of the new variant. Picture: Getty

The newest mutation of the Covid-19 strain emerging from England threatens to upend our most basic understandings of the pandemic – even the R number.

The R number is primarily defined by three things.

The transmissibility of the virus, the number of contacts people have and the number of days they are infectious. But if transmissibility changes, so too will the resulting R number and therefore the very Covid-19 models we have based our pandemic...

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