Manila Bulletin

COVID-19 variant 45% more contagious than original virus — Israeli research


JERUSALEM, Israel (Xinhua) — Israeli researcher­s have found that the COVID-19 variant detected in Britain and other countries is 45 percent more contagious than the original virus, the Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel said on Tuesday.

In a study published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, TAU researcher­s compared the reproducti­on number, or R number, of the original

COVID-19 virus with that of the variant, termed B.1.1.7, and found out that the variant is almost 1.5 times more infectious.

If the R number, an indicator used to determine how fast the COVID19 is spreading, is greater than 1, it means that the number of patients increases at an exponentia­l rate and multiplies from time to time.

The researcher­s based their research on the data from about 300,000 PCR tests for COVID-19 obtained from a testing lab, according to the study.

On Dec. 24, 2020, it was found out that only 5 percent of the positive results of COVID-19 tests in Israel were attributed to the variant, but the percentage sharply climbed to 90 percent just six weeks later, and to 99.5 percent now.

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