AstraZeneca’s COVID Jab ‘Vulnerable’ to South African Mutation, UK Chief Epidemiologist Warns

The UK is gradually coming out of lockdown in line with a government-charted roadmap, twice weekly testing for everyone in England announced, and encouraging data on the vaccine rollout across the nation.

Professor Neil Ferguson, aka “Professor Lockdown – an advisor from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) – has urged tighter UK border controls to keep the South African coronavirus variant at bay, which has been spreading in some European countries struggling with a third COVID-19 wave.

“Perhaps of more concern for the UK though is that some countries are notably seeing a significant fraction, five to 10 per cent of cases, of the South African variant. When infection levels go up in France, to 30,000 cases a day, that implies there’s at least 1,500 to 2,000 cases a day of the South African variant. That is the variant we really do want to keep out of the UK,” Ferguson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He added that “important decisions” lay ahead as the country gradually eases coronavirus restrictions, including those relating to international travel.

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