A new study by scientists from Tel Aviv University showed that the British strain of COVID-19 is 45% more infectious than the original version of the virus. The researchers relied on data from about 300 thousand tests obtained in the testing laboratory of the Electra Group.
According to the researchers, data from the laboratory shows that the spread of the British strain was very rapid: on December 24, 2020, only 5% of positive results were attributed to the British variant of COVID-19. Just six weeks later, in January 2021, this option accounted for 90% of Israel’s COVID-19 cases. Now, this figure is about 99.5%.
“To explain this dramatic increase, we asked ourselves the question: how many people, on average, get the disease from people who have any of the options? We found that the British version is 45% – almost 1.5 times – more infectious, ”the scientists noted.
In the second phase of the study, they segmented the infection by age group. The results showed that the tipping point for the 60+ population, compared to other age groups, came two weeks after 50% of the 60+ Israel population received the first vaccine.
“Until January, we observed a linear pattern, but two weeks after 50% of Israel’s 60-year-old population received the first dose of the vaccine, this schedule was dramatically and significantly disrupted. During January, there was a sharp decline in the number of new cases in the 60+ group, along with continued growth in the rest of the population. Simply put, since more than 90% of the deaths from COVID-19 were over 60 years old, the vaccine can be said to have saved hundreds of lives – even in the short term, ”the scientists added.
What’s more, new research proves that active monitoring of populations at risk works. Scientists also noted the importance of testing not only residents of nursing homes but also the rest of the population, because the British strain of coronavirus has spread there as well. “Monitoring nursing homes, along with vaccination that favors vulnerable populations, prevents illness and death,” the researchers note.