NEW cases of the feared South African coronavirus mutation have been confirmed in the UK.
Surge testing have been rolled out to the Sandwell area in the West Midlands to offer more tests to locals, after infections of the mutation which could threaten the UK’s lockdown lifting roadmap were discovered.
It comes as Public Health England launched a probe into a new Covid variant from the Philippines after two cases were discovered in the UK.
The health authority said the variant contains a number of worrying mutations, including the E484K spike protein found in the Brazil strain.
Concerns have been raised that vaccines may not be as effective against this protein.
A statement from PHE read: “The variant includes a number of notable mutations including E484K and N501Y, which are found in several other variants of concern.
“Public Health England has identified two cases of this variant in England. One of the cases is linked with international travel and the other is currently under investigation.
“All appropriate public health interventions are being undertaken.”
Meanwhile, an expert warned the EU is heading for “disaster” after multiple countries decided to suspend their AstraZeneca vaccine rollout over unsubstantiated blood clot fears, an expert has warned.
Germany became the 14th country to suspend the jab following Netherlands, Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Italy and Thailand.
And just an hour later France revealed it was shutting down its AstraZeneca rollout for 24 hours as well while the blood clot claims were looked into.
The evidence for such blood clotting appears to be patchy at best though and research in the UK suggests the vaccine has no discernible impact on the likelihood of developing a blood clot compared with not taking it.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on March 10 it would be investigating a spate of blood clotting cases in Europe.
But it later urged countries to continue vaccinating because the benefits of being protected outweigh any potential risk.
The UK medicine regulator – the MHRA – also says the jab is safe and encourages Brits to accept their offer of a vaccine when it arrives.
And the World Health Organisation also reiterated its guidance that the Oxford / Astra-Zeneca vaccine is safe.
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