Lack of effectiveness of vaccines against the UK strain of the coronavirus has not been confirmed so far, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to study these issues, Melita Vujnovic, WHO representative in Russia, told TASS on Wednesday.
"Great Britain reported that the new strain is more contagious but so far there is no information that it causes a more severe form of the disease or that vaccines developed against it are less effective," she said.The representative pointed out that studies of these issues continue. "Currently the new version is determined by the presence of 14 mutations some of which may influence the degree of contagiosity of the virus, that is, its ability to be transmitted from a sick to a healthy person, or of severity of the disease," she added.
Reports of the British strain appeared in mid-December. On December 14, 2020, Britain’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said British scientists had identified a new coronavirus strain that might be to blame for high infection rates in southeastern England. According to him, a preliminary analysis indicated that this newly detected virus strain was spreading faster than any of the known strains.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at an emergency news conference on December 19 announced that, according to the current findings, the new strain might be 70% more contagious. On December 22, Russia temporarily suspended air service with the UK due to the new coronavirus strain detected there.