Hospital patients with UK variant do not face higher risks
A highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in Britain, known as B.1.1.7, does not cause more severe disease in hospitalized patients, according to a study published on Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
B.1.1.7 is now the most common variant of the coronavirus in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and accounts for the vast majority of new cases in the United Kingdom.
The new study compared 198 patients with B.1.1.7 infections and 143 with COVID-19 caused by other variants, all of whom were admitted to British hospitals in November and December. Patients infected with the UK variant had higher viral loads, which aligns with previous findings that B.1.1.7 is more transmissible.
But the researchers saw no difference in the risks of critical illness, death, or other clinical outcomes in patients with B.1.1.7 and other variants.
“Our data … provide initial reassurance that severity in hospitalized patients with B.1.1.7 is not markedly different from severity in those without,” the researchers said.
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