The 16 Covid variants spreading throughout England

By Sophie Corcoran & Rachel Hains

Two months since "Freedom Day", cases of Coronavirus have once again begun to rise.

According to The Mirror, 38,975 new cases were reported this week - just days after figures were released, showing that deaths had quadrupled.

This rise in case numbers has brought concerns regarding the emergence of different variants, and whether the vaccines available can combat them.

Variants are being investigated and tracked as people test positive for them, with figures published on the Government's website.

Here is the full list of Covid variants of concern - kept under closest watch - and how many cases there have been so far.

Alpha

This variant was first detected in the UK and was first sequenced in the UK in September 2020.

So far, in the UK, a total of 277, 588 people have contracted the Alpha variant, with 226,855 of the total cases being recorded in England. It has so far spread to over 50 countries.

The N501Y mutation, seen in the Alpha variant may help the virus spread more easily.

Beta

So far, data up to August 25 shoes there has been 1,093 cases of the Beta variant in the UK.

England accounts for 979 of those cases, Northern Ireland, 9, Scotland, 62, and Wales, 43.

The Beta variant was first identified in South Africa but has been detected in at least 20 other countries. Beta also shares the N501Y mutation, like the Alpha variant, meaning the virus spreads more easily.

Beta also has a key mutation, called E484K that could help the virus sidestep some of the body's immune defences.

Delta

The most dominant of the variants listed, Delta swept the country this summer, making case numbers rise.

In total, there has been 535,387 cases of the Delta variant in the UK.

England accounts for 443,429 of those, Northern Ireland, 25, 651, Scotland, 49, 855 and Wales 16,452.

There is no evidence that the Delta variant causes more serious illness. Delta has some undergone some changes to their spike protein, the part of the virus that attaches to human cells.

It means it could spread more easily, although there is no evidence to show it might make current vaccines less effective.

Analysis by Public Health England found two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines was more than 90 per cent more effective against hospitalisations for Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant.

A single dose was less effective at preventing illness from Delta, compared to how well it worked against Alpha.

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert has said that immunity is “lasting well” for most people and suggested extra doses should be directed to countries with a low rate of vaccination (PA Wire/PA Images)

VOC-21FEB-02

This variant was first detected in the UK in December 2020 and there has so far been just 46 cases in total in the UK, with England accounting for 45 cases and Northern Ireland for one.

Gamma

The Gamma variant was first detected in Japan in travellers from Brazil in January 2021 and was first detected in the UK in February this year.

So far, there has been a total of 272 cases detected in the UK. All but two cases were recorded in England.

Wales recorded two cases.

The Gamma variant also shares the mutation, N501Y which makes the virus better at infecting cells and spreading.

It also has the E484K mutation that could help the virus sidestep some of the body's immune defences.

Kappa

The Kappa variant has seen a total of 494 cases in the UK.

It was first detected in India.

England has recorded 448 cases of this variant, Northern Ireland, four, Scotland, 27, and Wales, 15.

Two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines was more than 90 per cent more effective against hospitalisations for Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant (LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay)

VUI - 21APR-03

This variant was also first detected in India. It is responsible for 16 total cases in the UK, 13 of which were recorded in England.

Little is known about this rare variant.

VUI -21FEB-01

Seventy-nine cases have been recorded in total in the UK, all were recorded in England.

Again, little is known about this mutation - but case numbers are thankfully small.

Eta

The Eta variant was first detected in the UK in December last year.

A total of 497 cases have been recorded in the UK, with 445 of them in England.

Northern Ireland recorded a total of two cases, Scotland, 40 and Wales, 10.

It has been detected in over 23 countries.

VUI-21FEB-04

This variant is responsible for a UK total of 358 cases. 302 of those cases were recorded in England, 45 of them were recorded in Northern Ireland and 11 of them were recorded in Scotland.

It was first detected in the UK and declared a VUI in February this year. It also shares the E484k mutation that could help the virus sidestep some of the body's immune defences.

It means it could spread more easily, although there is no evidence to show it might make current vaccines less effective.

Analysis by Public Health England found two doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines was more than 90 per cent more effective against hospitalisations for Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant.

A single dose was less effective at preventing illness from Delta, compared to how well it worked against Alpha.

VOC-21FEB-02

This variant was first detected in the UK in December 2020 and there has so far been just 46 cases in total in the UK, with England accounting for 45 cases and Northern Ireland for one.

Gamma

The Gamma variant was first detected in Japan in travellers from Brazil in January 2021 and was first detected in the UK in February this year.

So far, there has been a total of 272 cases detected in the UK. All but two cases were recorded in England.

Wales recorded two cases.

The Gamma variant also shares the mutation, N501Y which makes the virus better at infecting cells and spreading.

It also has the E484K mutation that could help the virus sidestep some of the body's immune defences.

Kappa

The Kappa variant has seen a total of 494 cases in the UK.

It was first detected in India.

England has recorded 448 cases of this variant, Northern Ireland, four, Scotland, 27, and Wales, 15.

VUI - 21APR-03

This variant was also first detected in India. It is responsible for 16 total cases in the UK, 13 of which were recorded in England.

Little is known about this rare variant.

53 cases of the new Mu variant has been detected around the UK. (Jeff J Mitchell Getty Images)

VUI -21FEB-01

Seventy-nine cases have been recorded in total in the UK, all were recorded in England.

Again, little is known about this mutation - but case numbers are thankfully small.

Eta

The Eta variant was first detected in the UK in December last year.

A total of 497 cases have been recorded in the UK, with 445 of them in England.

Northern Ireland recorded a total of two cases, Scotland, 40 and Wales, 10.

It has been detected in over 23 countries.

VUI-21FEB-04

This variant is responsible for a UK total of 358 cases. 302 of those cases were recorded in England, 45 of them were recorded in Northern Ireland and 11 of them were recorded in Scotland.

It was first detected in the UK and declared a VUI in February this year. It also shares the E484k mutation that could help the virus sidestep some of the body's immune defences.

It was first detected in Peru in August 2020. All of England's cases have been linked to overseas travel.

VUI-21JUL-01

This variant has a total of 48 cases recorded in the UK, with 44 recorded in England, one in Northern Ireland, two in Scotland and one in Wales.

It was escalated to a VUI on July 21 this year. There is currently no evidence that it causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective.

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