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Doctor: details needed as new Covid-19 strain hits UK

Carika Weldon a Bermudian biochemist who has led the island’s battle against Covid-19 (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A new strain of the coronavirus linked to increases in Covid-19 has appeared in Britain.

But Carika Weldon, a Bermudian genetics researcher on the front line of the island’s fight against Covid-19, said it was unlikely to be linked with the recent surge in cases seen on the island.

She added: “We didn’t have any flights from the UK for the last months. That probably supports that it’s not from the UK.”

Dr Weldon said she believed more patients were showing symptoms of Covid-19 but added that “in the first wave, we were not testing asymptomatic people”.

She said: “I think if people are getting symptoms, in a weird way that’s a blessing, because otherwise we might not have known. It seems like more people are having symptoms as opposed to asymptomatic.”

She was speaking after the BBC earlier this week reported that Matt Hancock, the British health minister, linked the new strain to areas of the Britain where cases were rising.

The BBC said that Mr Hancock had told the House of Commons that the UK had seen a surge in cases over the last week, particularly in the South.

The variant was not said to be a more dangerous strain of the coronavirus, or able to resist vaccines.

Dr Weldon said viruses mutated often.

She added: “There are lots of new strains.

“A mutation in a virus does not necessarily mean a worse outcome.

“It’s just a change – we don’t know yet if it’s good or bad.

“We do not have enough information about this new strain.”

Dr Weldon, formerly a genetic researcher with Oxford University Hospitals, returned to Bermuda early this year to help build local coronavirus testing, including the Government's Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory.

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Published December 16, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 21, 2020 at 4:38 pm)

Doctor: details needed as new Covid-19 strain hits UK

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