U.K. COVID-19 strain doesn’t lead to more deaths, study finds

The variant of coronavirus, first identified in the UK, spreads more easily than older strains but does not cause more severe illness in hospitalized patients, according to a new study.

People infected with the variant known as B.1.1.7 at the end of last year had more viruses in their bodies than patients infected with older strains. This is a sign that the newer variant is more infectious The study was published online on Monday from the medical journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. However, the patients admitted to hospital with B.1.1.7 did not die more frequently or had poorer overall results.

The results contribute to the scientists’ understanding of the effects of B.1.1.7, which have become particularly important now that exposure has dominated Cases in the UK, US and some other countries.

“If you need hospitalization, you are no worse with this variant compared to the previous strain of the virus,” said Eleni Nastouli, clinical virologist and pediatrician at University College London and senior author of the paper.

“Obviously, if you need hospitalization for Covid, that’s a concern,” she added. “But it’s no more than the previous burden.”

An expanded version of this report is available at WSJ.com

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