Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

New Studies of B.1.1.7

Two new studies suggest that while the B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant first identified in the UK may be more transmissible, it might not lead to increased COVID-19 severity, CNN reports.

B.1.1.7, NPR adds, has since spread and is now the most common lineage in the US. Previous studies have suggested that the variant might be not only more easily spread, but also more deadly.

In one of the new studies, appearing in Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers examined samples from 341 patients with COVID-19, 58 percent of whom had the B.1.1.7 variant and 42 percent of whom did not. The University College London-led team found no link between viral variant and severe disease or death, though they did note that viral load appeared higher among patients with B.1.1.7 variant infections.

"One idea for why this variant is more transmissible could be that patients are making more virus," first author Dan Frampton, a bioinformatician at UCL, tells NBC News.

In the other study, published in Lancet Public Health, a King's College London-led team examined whether there were changes in reported symptoms — collected via an app — in a region and the portion of B.1.1.7 variant infections there. As CNN notes, they uncovered no changes in symptoms or disease duration.

The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.