In England, they announced the mass testing of the population in several more areas in connection with the identified cases of the South African strain of the coronavirus.
It is reported by Sky News.
In the Walsall area north of Birmingham, Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire, and parts of Hampshire, people aged 16 years and older, even without symptoms, are invited to come to testing centers.
“New variants of the virus are appearing in more and more numbers in cities across the country. It is now important to understand if this strain is already circulating in Middlesbrough,” Mayor Andy Preston said.
Prior to this, additional testing was launched in selected areas of London, Manchester, Kent, and Surrey.
According to the Public Health Agency of England, so far only 202 cases of infection with the African strain or suspicions of it have been detected.
Deputy Chief Physician Professor Jonathan Van Tam noted earlier this week that so far the number of infections with the African strain is very low and it is unlikely to become dominant in Britain.
The South African strain of the virus raises concerns as such that it may be more resistant to the vaccine and more likely to re-infect people who are already ill.
A small sample study in South Africa, where the strain is the dominant strain, showed that the AstraZeneca vaccine only protected people from developing mild symptoms in 10% of cases, but it will probably be able to effectively prevent severe disease. More data is needed for confident conclusions since the sample of about 2,000 participants included predominantly young people.
At the same time, there is the first evidence that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is effective against the South African strain. Moderna recently announced that its vaccine works against the British and South African strains, but less effective against the latter.
Johnson & Johnson, which recently submitted the vaccine for approval in the United States, also reported the effectiveness of its drug against the African variant.