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Telangana: UK Covid variant may spread fast during summer, warn researchers | Hyderabad News

HYDERABAD: With Covid-19 cases gradually increasing in Hyderabad and parts of Telugu states, researchers warn that the UK variant (B117), which is already circulating here, is capable of spreading fast in warmer conditions. As the temperature will increase further as the summer advances, the UK variant may find the atmosphere more conducive for its spread.

An international team of researchers has noticed that the UK variant, unlike other strains of the Covid-19, is not affected by a change in temperature. It is capable of hitting equally during winter and summer, but turning more active in warmer temperatures. On the other hand, other variants increase or decrease in their infection rates with the change in temperature, as city researchers had earlier found out. However, the UK variant is likely to be affected by rains in tropical areas like India.
“Lineage B117 spreads with greater transmission in colder (conditions). However, we also find evidence of B117 having a transmission advantage at warmer temperatures compared to other strains… Our results suggest that for each degree Celsius rise in temperature, the ratio of UK strain, also called the variant of concern (VOC) to non-VOC infectivity may increase by about 0.12-0.22,” the researchers from the Imperial College London, UK, and Utah State University, USA, said in their study published in online preprint publication, MedRxiv.
In other words, winter or summer conditions may not slow down the infection rate of the UK strain. The research study said adding that importantly in the context of new strains, transmission of respiratory viruses in tropical climates are often more sensitive to rainfall than temperature.
“We additionally investigated whether the UK variant may respond differently to the environment as compared to non-UK variant strains. At warmer temperatures, the UK variant was even more transmissible than other strains than in colder conditions. This may be expected, as differences in fitness between strains are likely to be magnified in harsher environments where fitness is reduced overall,” the study said.

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