New Covid variant symptoms, vaccine effectiveness, and is it in the UK?

A new variant of Covid, B.1.1.529, has emerged from Botswana and South Africa (Photo: Getty)

A new Covid-19 variant from Botswana has been doubled the “worst yet”.

The variant has yet to receive the title of ‘variant of concern’ in the UK, but a senior expert from the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) said: ‘This is the worst variant we have seen so far. ‘now”.

This worried the UK enough to immediately put Botswana, South Africa and four other African countries back on the red list.

Here’s what you need to know about the new variant.

What is the new Covid variant?

The new variant of Covid-19 is called B.1.1.529 – and it was first found in Botswana.

It is different from other variants that we already know because it has a lot more mutations.

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There are 32 mutations in total, some of which suggest they will spread easily between people.

Its spike protein – which helps the virus get into your cells – also has “more modifications”.

What does it mean? Well, that’s not the best news for vaccine effectiveness. Essentially, the vaccine trains our immune system to fight off earlier versions of the spike protein.

Currently, this new variant doesn’t have a name – but you might hear it called “Botswana variant” or “South African variant”.

It would eventually have to be given a proper name, probably a letter of the Greek alphabet.

The new variant has yet to be officially named, but it will likely be called “Nu” – the next letter of the Greek alphabet.. (Photo:

If you remember, the Delta variant was colloquially referred to as the “Indian variant” for some time, after its country of origin.

But we’ve officially named all of the new variations after the Greek letters – and the next line to use is “Nude”.

Where was the new variant of Covid detected?

As of November 26, there had been only 59 reported cases of B.1.1.529 worldwide.

The variant originated in the African country of Botswana around November 11.

Beyond Botswana, there have been confirmed cases in South Africa and Hong Kong.

Is the new variant of Covid in the UK?

There are no reported cases of this variant in the UK, correct at the time of writing.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid has discussed the potential dangers of arriving here in the Commons on November 26.

He said: “We are concerned that this new variant poses a substantial risk to public health. The variant has an unusually high number of mutations.”

He confirmed that the UK Health Security Agency is investigating B.1.1.529 as a “higher priority” than the beta variant.

Mr Javid added: “It shares many features of the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants. This variant may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and current vaccines may be less effective against it. ‘

As a result, Botswana, South Africa and the neighboring countries of Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini are now on the red list of trips to England.

Flights from the six countries will be suspended from 12 p.m. on Friday, November 26. Anyone arriving from these destinations after 4 a.m. on Sunday will be forced to self-quarantine in a hotel.

Those who have returned before, or who have visited recently and have already returned home, are to self-quarantine and should expect to hear from the NHS Test and Trace.

Currently, Delta is the most common variant of Covid-19 in the UK.

What are the symptoms of the new variant of Covid?

What are the symptoms of the new variant of Covid? (Photo: Getty)

No unusual symptoms have so far been reported for B.1.1.529.

It is believed to have the same symptoms as the other Covid-19 variants, which are as follows:

  • Loss (or change) in smell or taste
  • Another cough continues
  • A high temperature (hot to the touch on the chest or back)

Will the Covid vaccine or booster work against the new variant?

Covid vaccines offer protection against serious illness and death from Covid-19 (Photo: Getty)

Current evidence suggests that B.1.1.529 may prove to be more resistant to vaccines than the other variants.

Again, this is due to the number of mutations it has – and the fact that its spike protein has different alterations.

However, it’s far too early to tell if this really is the case or what it means in the real world.

This variant only appeared in mid-November – and scientists from Africa, the UK and elsewhere are working tirelessly to study it.

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