LONDON, Nov 26, Reuters -- Britain said on Friday that a newly identified coronavirus variant in South Africa was considered the most significant one yet found, and that it needed to ascertain whether or not it made vaccines ineffective.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said early action was essential for the lesson of COVID and that early action is essential in order to be effective in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini.
The variant called B. was announced by the UK Health Security Agency. 529 has a spike protein that is dramatically different from the one in the original coronaviruses that COVID 19 vaccines are based on.
This is the most significant variant they've encountered in their research, according to Shapps, who told Sky News.
The government should act swiftly and preemptively in case of concerns over the impact of the variant, even though it could take weeks to get all the information needed to know about its characteristics, according to officials.
The variant is also found in Botswana and Hong Kong, but the UK Health Security Agency said no cases of the variant had been detected in Britain.