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Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Variant in Europe


U.K. Secretary of Health, Matt Hancock, advised Parliament on Monday, December 14th that a variant of SARS-CoV-2 has emerged in various southern counties with at least one thousand cases identified.  Health authorities in EU nations have also noted the presence of the variant that is undergoing review by the World Health Organization.  It is understood that the variant is more contagious but does not appear to be any more pathogenic than the predominant strain in circulation. 


Emergence of variants should be expected given the recent characterization of a mink SARS-CoV-2 variant in Denmark.  It is to be expected that variants will appear, especially with a highly contagious aerosol-transmitted virus circulating within densely concentrated urban populations with frequent interpersonal interaction and contact among individuals.

U.K Sec. Health Matt Hancock
adressing the House


The COVID-19 situation emphasizes the need for open scientific communication among nations including the sharing of genetic sequences of pathogens and dissemination of current epidemiologic data. Only an international organization such as the WHO can serve as a reliable central repository of information and to guide nations with minimal resources.