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COVID-19 variant: Early data
29, Dec 2020

COVID-19 variant: Early data

A new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has been reported in the UK. This variant was detected by the Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium



A simplified overview of early data is available at the following link


Key Details: 

  • The variant is called B.1.1.7 or variant under investigation, the year 2020, month 12, variant 01 (VUI 202012/01)
  • The rate of transmission is 71% higher than other variants
  • The first case occurred on September 20, 2020
  • Sequenced in early October 2020
  • The variant has 17 new mutations, 8 in the spike protein which binds to human cells. Mutations have caused amino acid changes and deletions
  • Mutation N201Y in the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein renders the virus more avid for its human receptor, ACE2.
  • The deletion at positions 69/70 affects the performance of some diagnostic PCR assays
  • Current vaccines should be effective against this variant 
  • The variant does not affect the severity of COVID-19
  • Children are more likely to be affected, because the variant is more contagious, and schools have remained open in some areas
  • Several countries have begun to see cases with this variant




Immunocompromized patients

  • Some mutations seen in the variant may have occurred in immunocompromised patients



Mathematical modeling by a group of researchers predicts a higher transmission rate than pre-existing variants of SARS-CoV-2, without clear evidence of altered disease severity. These models project increased spread unless vaccination roll-outs are accelerated, and school-based transmission is reduced. 




Plexision develops cellular biomarkers for personalized diagnosis and drug development in solid organ transplantation and immunological disorders. We also pioneer in R&D projects centered on integrating biomarker targets in all phases of drug development, from preclinical to post-marketing. Plexision’s technology can be adapted to

  • - Assess disease risk for several immunological disorders.
  • - Predict the success of a drug for a specific patient.
  • - Develop dosing recommendations for new immunological drugs.

Our state-of-the-art laboratory is CLIA-certified and located in Pittsburgh, PA.