Officials launch investigation into ‘Yorkshire’ variant

Officials launch investigation into 'Yorkshire' variant

Officials launch investigation into ‘Yorkshire’ variant

Public Health England (PHE) has launched an investigation into a new Covid variant which has emerged in Yorkshire and the Humber region.

The strain has caused at least 49 cases of infection, mostly in Yorkshire and the Humber region.

Cases have also been detected in Greece and Chad.

Officials have been monitoring the VUI-21MAY-01 or AV.1 variant since the “strange combination of mutations” were first identified last month.

PHE said current vaccines were still effective against the new variant

Dr Kev Smith, from PHE, added that there was “currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease.”

“So far the people that we have identified are not particularly infectious, they’re not really getting more sick than other cases of coronavirus and we’re not seeing anything particularly worrying about it,” he added.

“At the moment, we don’t think it’s more infectious than the other coronaviruses that we are seeing around.”

PHE has classified the variant as “under investigation” rather than a “variant of concern”.

Greg Fell, director of public health in Sheffield, has urged the public not to be alarmed.

“We want you to continue doing what you have been for the past year,” he continued.

“Follow the guidance, continue to wash your hands regularly and wear a mask indoors.

“Where cases have been identified, additional follow-up of cases, testing of contacts and targeted case-finding will be used to limit the spread of variants.”

Public Health England says it plans to continue monitoring the spread of the ‘Yorkshire variant’ through additional testing.

It is one of eight mutations currently under investigation.