B.1.1.7 variant more transmissible but does not increase disease severity, two new studies suggest

Two new studies suggest that the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, is more transmissible, but the variant does not appear to impact disease severity.

Posted: Apr 12, 2021 7:29 PM

(CNN) -- Two new studies suggest that the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, is more transmissible, but the variant does not appear to impact disease severity.

The findings clash with separate research that previously suggested the variant may be tied to a higher risk of dying from Covid-19.

One of the studies, published on Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, found no evidence in a sample of hospitalized patients that the B.1.1.7 variant is associated with severe Covid-19. However, the variant was associated with increased viral load, which supports the growing evidence that it is more easily transmitted.

The other study, also published Monday in The Lancet Public Health, found no statistically significant association between the B.1.1.7 variant and the types or duration of Covid-19 symptoms people said that they experienced.

'Patients with B.1.1.7 were younger and had fewer comorbidities'
The Lancet Infectious Diseases study included data on 496 people who were admitted to hospitals in London and tested positive for coronavirus infection.

"Our data, within the context and limitations of a real-world study, provide initial reassurance that severity in hospitalised patients with B.1.1.7 is not markedly different from severity in those without, and this study provides a model to answer the same question again as we move into an era of emerging variants," the researchers, based in the United Kingdom, wrote in the study.

Nose and throat swab samples were collected from the patients between November 9 and December 20. Among those samples, 341 underwent genome sequencing. The sequence data showed that 198 of the patients, or 58%, had infections caused by the B.1.1.7 variant while the others were caused by other strains of the coronavirus.

The researchers found no difference in the outcome of severe disease or death between the variant and other lineages.

For instance, the data showed that 36% of patients in the study with the B.1.1.7 variant infection experienced severe illness or death compared with 38% of those with non-B.1.1.7 infections. When it came to death specifically, 16% of with the B.1.1.7 variant infection died within 28 days compared with 17% of those with non-B.1.1.7 infections, the researchers found.

But the researchers identified increased viral load among the B.1.1.7 patients.

Overall, "patients with B.1.1.7 were younger and had fewer comorbidities than those with non-B.1.1.7 infection, possibly representing the widespread and potential increased transmission of this variant in the community or differences in probability of hospital admission, which we were not able to explore in this hospital-based cohort," the researchers wrote.

"Finding B.1.1.7 more commonly in younger versus older individuals gives a subtle hint of more severe disease if patients with B.1.1.7 are hospitalised more often compared with patients with other lineages, although difference in disease severity by B.1.1.7 was not found in this hospitalised cohort in the main analysis."

'This study adds to the consensus that B.1.1.7 has increased transmissibility'
The Lancet Public Health study included data on 36,920 people who reported testing positive for Covid-19 and logged their symptoms into the COVID Symptom Study app between September 28 and December 27.

The app -- designed by doctors and scientists at King's College London, Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals and Zoe Global Limited, a health technology company -- helps track the spread of Covid-19 and the range of symptoms experienced.

The study's authors, based in the United Kingdom and the United States, analyzed the data reported in the app along with Covid-19 surveillance data for the UK.

The analysis showed that the prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant in certain regions and over time was not associated with changes in Covid-19 symptoms reported in the app or the duration of symptoms.

"The proportion of users with asymptomatic disease did not significantly change as the B.1.1.7 variant increased in prevalence, in agreement with other studies on the subject," the researchers wrote in the study. "We also found no changes in admissions to hospital; however, other reports have shown that the B.1.1.7 variant increases rates of admission to hospital."

The researchers found that the rate of coronavirus reinfections was low -- with 0.7% of app users who reported a positive Covid-19 test testing positive again after 90 days -- and there was no evidence of increased reinfection rates associated with the B.1.1.7 variant.

The researchers did not have data on risk of dying from Covid-19 and most of the app users get tested only when they have symptoms, so there were relatively few asymptomatic infections in the data.

Yet the researchers found a "multiplicative increase" in the reproduction number of the B.1.1.7 variant, suggesting it can spread more easily.

"This study adds to the consensus that B.1.1.7 has increased transmissibility, which has contributed in large part to the sharp rise in cases in the UK over the study period and beyond, as well as ongoing third waves in European countries with growing burdens of B.1.1.7 cases," Britta Jewell, of Imperial College London, wrote in an editorial that accompanied the new study in the journal The Lancet Public Health. Jewell was not involved in the new study.

"Although B.1.1.7 might have similar symptomatology to that of other lineages, the emergence of new variants is inevitable as long as SARS-CoV-2 transmission continues at scale," Jewell wrote. "In other regions—especially in low-income and middle-income countries that could face longer waits to control their epidemics through vaccination—methods of real-time monitoring of symptoms and disease characteristics, similar to the COVID Symptom Study, could help to identify potentially important changes in symptomatology, transmissibility, mortality, or vaccine avoidance as early as possible."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Terre Haute
Mostly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 45°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 41°
Indianapolis
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
Rockville
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 42°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 41°
Brazil
Mostly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 45°
Marshall
Mostly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 45°
Another Chilly Night
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Marshall baseball beats Casey-Westfield

Image

Hagen Knepp Earns Junior All-Star Selection

Image

THN Boys win Travis Smith Vigo County Golf Match

Image

Casey-Westfield softball beats Marshall

Image

Casey-Westfield softball beats Marshall

Image

Lincoln Hale Commits to Indiana Wesleyn

Image

Rick's Rallies

Image

Vincennes Parks Superintendent Steve Beamon resigns from department

Image

Legislature votes to override governor's veto

Image

Parke County Community Crossings grant

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1354869

Reported Deaths: 24577
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook54245010056
DuPage900321276
Will75056989
Lake66830984
Kane58044770
Winnebago32927472
Madison30392518
McHenry28413285
St. Clair27762512
Peoria22956300
Champaign20530145
Sangamon18625234
McLean18041178
Tazewell16843282
Rock Island14861308
Kankakee14074209
Kendall1294192
LaSalle12459243
Macon10698198
DeKalb9812119
Vermilion9545132
Adams8407123
Williamson7397129
Whiteside7126171
Boone666472
Ogle607681
Grundy585275
Clinton575190
Coles566594
Knox5525141
Jackson500364
Henry492963
Livingston480185
Stephenson473381
Effingham472172
Woodford471776
Macoupin467581
Marion4459115
Franklin443774
Monroe435593
Jefferson4270120
Lee414152
Randolph412684
Fulton389555
Morgan386981
Logan385057
Montgomery370873
Bureau369682
Christian364473
Fayette316955
Perry315860
Iroquois299366
McDonough281947
Jersey268849
Douglas258335
Saline256154
Lawrence240425
Shelby229037
Union225240
Crawford211426
Bond203724
Cass198425
Jo Daviess180524
Warren179246
Pike178652
Clark178533
Ford177446
Wayne176852
Hancock175231
Carroll174536
Richland174140
White169326
Edgar168539
Washington163825
Moultrie160426
De Witt149824
Mason149745
Clay148043
Piatt147914
Mercer145633
Greene143233
Johnson142715
Wabash134612
Massac133440
Cumberland129119
Menard122912
Jasper115018
Marshall105818
Hamilton83115
Schuyler7435
Brown7036
Pulaski6837
Stark63423
Edwards56812
Henderson52514
Calhoun5162
Putnam4813
Scott4781
Alexander46711
Gallatin4584
Hardin38412
Pope3174
Out of IL10
Unassigned02354

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 729716

Reported Deaths: 13418
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion998331740
Lake53638968
Allen40585676
St. Joseph35651550
Hamilton35569408
Elkhart28514442
Tippecanoe22386219
Vanderburgh22300397
Porter18725308
Johnson17933379
Hendricks17209315
Clark12951191
Madison12649339
Vigo12440246
LaPorte11890211
Monroe11883170
Delaware10676186
Howard9908216
Kosciusko9401117
Hancock8275141
Bartholomew8061155
Warrick7778155
Floyd7657178
Wayne7042199
Grant7041174
Boone6690101
Morgan6563139
Dubois6153117
Marshall6039111
Dearborn580478
Cass5803105
Henry5713103
Noble560383
Jackson501673
Shelby490796
Lawrence4531120
Harrison435472
Gibson435092
DeKalb427885
Clinton427153
Montgomery423888
Whitley395639
Huntington390680
Steuben387057
Miami381566
Knox371990
Jasper364947
Putnam359960
Wabash353679
Adams341254
Ripley339570
Jefferson330681
White313854
Daviess296799
Wells291481
Decatur284892
Fayette280462
Greene278585
Posey271433
LaGrange266170
Scott265653
Clay259747
Washington240632
Randolph240281
Spencer232131
Jennings229949
Starke216353
Fountain212246
Sullivan211542
Owen199256
Fulton195440
Jay194730
Carroll188520
Orange182954
Perry182837
Rush173125
Vermillion169243
Franklin168035
Tipton162845
Parke146216
Blackford134732
Pike133834
Pulaski116745
Newton107734
Brown102041
Crawford99714
Benton98614
Martin88615
Warren82015
Switzerland7898
Union71010
Ohio56811
Unassigned0415