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Study: New coronavirus strain may infect children more easily

By: Team Ifairer | Posted: 25-12-2020
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Study: New coronavirus strain may infect children more easily
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Briefing reporters on the latest findings, scientists from the government's New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) who are tracking the variant said it had swiftly become the dominant strain in the south of Britain and could do the same across the country. The emergence of the mutated SARS-CoV-2 variant, which scientists say is up to 70% more transmissible than previous strains in the UK, has prompted some countries to close their borders with Britain and pushed large areas of the country into severe restrictions over the New Year period.

Earlier strains of coronavirus found it harder to infect children than adults, with one explanation being that children have fewer of the doorways called the ACE2 receptor the virus uses to enter a human body's cells. Professor Wendy Barclay, from Nervtag and Imperial College London, said the mutations to the virus appeared to be making it easier to breach those doorways. "Therefore children are equally susceptible, perhaps, to this virus as adults, and therefore given their mixing patterns, you would expect to see more children being infected," she explained.

Experts do not believe that the new version is any greater threat to children's health and the scientist behind the world's first approved vaccine against COVID-19 has said the Pfizer/BioNTech jabs will work against the strain, though further investigation remains underway.
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