Leading scientists have spread the words of happiness this week by predicting that the Kent strain of COVID will spread across the entire world and the battle against the virus could last 10 years. Yay!
The professor of public health and microbiology at Cambridge University’s Department of Medicine Professor Sharon Peacock, made clear the threat from the virus would be hugely diminished as vaccines are rolled out, medicines improve and people understand how social distancing can combat it. Well that’s not quite so bad then.
She also added that Kent should not be proud of it’s biggest export to date.
The professor also said that that the Kent variant, which was detected across Britain and in more than 50 countries to date, has “swept the country” and “it’s going to sweep the world, in all probability”. By getting into 50 countries already, it’s had a good start.
The WHO has confirmed the first sample of Kent COVID was discovered on 20th September “near Canterbury”.
Already this week, the Australian city of Melbourne has gone into another 5 day lockdown after the Kent strain escaped quarantine and 13 people were infected. There was another run on toilet rolls as the Aussies panicked and cleared the shelves. Seems like Australians have worse tummies than the Indians!
The Kent strain of the virus is said to have 23 different mutations from the base virus. Scientists are still uncertain about how the cluster of mutations arose or what they mean long-term for the virus’s transmission. One possible hypothesis for their origin involves chronically ill patients treated with experimental therapies like convalescent plasma donated by recovered COVID-19 patients. In such lengthy illnesses, the virus has more opportunities to replicate, increasing the odds for mutations.
So could it be the increased healthcare facilities and large population in Kent has actually increased the odds of the virus mutating here? Or did increased testing just pick up the new strain. Perhaps there are a lot more strains of COVID out there already that have just not been detected so far.
The Kent strain now accounts for over 75% of all new infections. How nice that they named it after our beautiful county!