A new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 is under investigation in the United Kingdom, according to Public Health England (PHE). The variant is currently known as B.1.621 and it has not received a greek letter designation under the new rules from the World Health Organization.
The agency has confirmed that 16 cases of the B.1.621 variant have been identified across the country to date, and the majority has been linked to overseas travel. Currently, there is no evidence of community transmission but PHE decided to move the variant to the "'Variant Under Investigation" category.
"There is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective. PHE is carrying out laboratory testing to better understand the impact of mutations on the behaviour of the virus," PHE announced in a statement.
There are currently 286,765 cases of COVID caused by the Delta variant in the UK. That variant is responsible for 99 percent of the total.