Analysis comment

Video: WHO – ‘no information to suggest’ ‘new’ (not really) variant spreads faster. Is Boris Johnson trying to shift blame for his lack of action and cancelled Christmas onto ‘mutant’?

No evidence that ‘new’ UK variant transmits any more easily or spreads any faster – and it’s not ‘new’, WHO has been studying it for a while

Boris Johnson has blamed his Christmas u-turn on a ‘new’ ‘mutant strain’ of the coronavirus, claiming that it spreads more rapidly than the previous variants present in the UK.

But according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week, there is nothing to suggest it actually does spread faster – and it isn’t new either:

Not only is there no indication, as far as the WHO is concerned, that the new variant of the coronavirus can transmit more easily – and the WHO has been studying it for a while, so it is best-placed to know.

Boris Johnson delayed the second England-wide lockdown – and by insisting that schools must stay open during it (making the UK the last nation in the world not to admit that schools are driving the pandemic) he ensured that its success was reduced to nothing more than a small downturn. And now, with the lockdown lifted, the virus is spreading rapidly. Is the WHO misleading the world – or is Boris Johnson trying to cover his Tory backside again?

Phew, that’s a tough call…

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    1. Why not mention the thousands of false negatives?
      False negatives are of far more significance but destroy your argument, that’s why.

      1. In the last few months’ PCR testing I’ve heard of no such thing as a false negative. Did you just make that up? Or are you saying that, if false negatives come from using excessive numbers of amplification cycles, you can get false negatives from using too FEW amplification cycles. Even if that were true, you can’t have both, unless you run the test twice, which is a luxury we can scarcely afford, time-wise.

        Everybody so far has been using excessive numbers of cycles, either intentionally or through incompetence, to create the illusion of an out-of-control situation that “requires” emergency measures.

        This govt, lead by the country’s most notorious liar, only need to say something is true and manipulate statistics to back it up and it is instantly believed, even by people who should know the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf better.

        This new strain is a transparent hoax. Stop acting like imbeciles!

      2. The whole testing regime is as unfit for purpose as expected – it was ‘designed’ on the back of an enveope by the Tories after all.
        The tests are technically the best available despite their deficiencies but the trick is not to under- or over-estimate their accuracy or misinterpret the results.
        It was obvious to a child that the system should have been locally organised and locally provided under the aegis of the NHS – then the results interpreted and responses (PUBLICLY!) recommended by those best qualified within the NHS – not this incompetent array of government bullshitters, whores, snake oil salesmen and moneygrubbing, privatising charlatans.

        Every unprocessed PCR test counts as a false negative.
        EVERY UNPROCESSED PCR TEST COUNTS AS A FALSE NEGATIVE – because the “tested” individual ISN’T TOLD TO SELF-ISOLATE you fucking morons.
        There have been hundreds of thousands of them – or maybe millions – of late or damaged kits simply thrown away by incompetent, untrained private “logistics providers” – while still counted as tests “carried out” by worse-than-useless governmunters.

        I notice all you fuckwitted antiCVtards have stopped whining “it’s no worse than a normal ‘flu year” – why’s that then? Hmm?

      3. We’re more likely now to be asking what’s happening with the flu mortality rates this year.

      4. That it? Will your considered response be here by xmas?

      5. Whoops! My comment at 9.08am today should in the 2nd line read: “Or are you saying that, if false POSITIVES come from using excessive numbers of amplification cycles, you can get false negatives from using too FEW amplification cycles?”. D’oh!

      6. False positives, false negatives would mean that the PCR tests shouldn’t be relied upon full stop. The inventor of this test himself said they weren’t meant for diagnostics.

    2. Poor stuff Skwawkbox. Totally irresponsible spin on the actual content of the WHO press conference by Skwawkbox here I’m afraid ! LISTEN to the actual bland statements from the WHO experts on the video , and all they say is that ,currently, they themselves have no comparative analytical information on the strain currently rocketing through Southern England – but are ‘keeping it under review’ along with other mutations like the mink strain. Meanwhile , the latest UK government data DOES clearly show the new strain IS rocketing though Southern England , ie, unsurprisingly, the country worst affected by the new strain is best placed to have the most up to date data !

      The incompetent , constantly changing, UK inadequate , confusing, lockdowns and confused official messaging , and deep corruption in contracting out test and trace , and PPE acquisition, , and useless gimmicks like the inaccurate mass lateral flow testing, and keeping schools open, HAVE undoubtedly led to a massive drop in public compliance with safe behaviour, and the virus getting much more widespread , BUT, it serves no purpose to pooh, pooh, the quite clear reality that the new strain is indeed ‘out of control’, in southern England, just to take a cheap shot at the incompetent Tory government. There is plenty to attack the corrupt chancers of the Johnson government on, without resorting to misinformation, Skwawky . Not the first time Skwawkbox has done this – eg, Skwawkbox’s misrepresentation a couple of months ago of the large percentage – but TINY actual numbers, rise in US child covid19 deaths .

      Timfrom , himself, of course is one of the rabid group of conspiraloon covid19 deniers who used to post their utter nonsense on here constantly – but strangely, have gone rather quiet recently as the death toll of wave2 mounts – and now have to put across their ‘covid is a hoax’ nonsense rather more obliquely nowadays ! Ignore him, and his bonkers covid denier chums. .As David McNiven says , ‘false negatives’ are the big problem with the rubbish lateral flow type tests – but the fact that this particular type of test is flawed in no way undermines the stark reality of covid19 as a massive global pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousand of people worldwide, over 60,000 so far in the UK., and well over 300,000 in the US so far !

      Covid deniers and the anti vaxxer nutters are the enemies of reason, never mind part of a toxic social media-borne conspiraloon ‘irrationality virus’ roadblock to people taking the necessary measures to defeat this very real mass-killing disease.

      1. On the contrary, we are the emissaries of reason, not easily-blackmailed emotional cripples, like you.

      2. I would have to say jpenney that going by Johnson’s record of incompetence and his ability to tell a barefaced lie without a blink, my first thought when I heard about the rise in cases and the revised Christmas arrangements was that he would blame the new strain of the virus for both.

      3. Skawkbox is indeed over-interpreting the WHO’s response in the video — “we have no information” means “we don’t know either way”, NOT “it’s nothing to worry about”.

        It’s important not to let justified anger and contempt for Johnson’s performance to tint our reading of info. While he may well be motivated by the hope of covering up his previous mistakes, it appears that (even if for the wrong reasons) he has for once done the right thing in a timely way.

        The fact that the mutation has been known for some time is not the point. By definition its effects on transmissiveness can only become known over time.

        This report in the FT (“Coronavirus: Scientists alarmed at infectiousness of viral variant” makes it clear that the effects have come as a very nasty and recent shock to the scientific community.

        On a different point, I’m surprised to see jpenney complain about Skwawkbox’s highlighting of percentage increases rather than absolute numbers. The whole point of exponential change is that small absolute numbers can quickly become very large indeed once the exponent is >1.

      4. Julian Wells. You are simply wrong. And your surprise is misplaced. It is always important to keep a sense of proportion when viewing statistics – on different countries’ economic growth stats for instance, just as much as the current covid19 pandemic. Hence a rise in child deaths from covid19, of, say 10,000, to say, 30,000 in a few weeks , ie a 300% increase – is massively significant. But an increase of , say, 3 child deaths from covid19 to, say, 9 deaths over a few weeks, ie, also 300% , is statistically irrelevant and doesn’t represent a necessary trend. Skwawkbox a few months ago elevated a large percentage increase , over many months , of US child deaths , into a claimed significant statistic – but in fact the TOTAL child deaths from covid 19 over a six month period was only 90 in total ! This is not statistically significant in the huge US population, and does not necessarily demonstrate any forward trend at all – until much more forward data is available.

        All very basic statistical analysis 101 stuff – but apparently not something either Skwawkbox or too many on the Left , never mind the Right , are able to grasp – being to busy grinding their various axes. We need rationality and logic and basic statistical understanding to help us get through this crisis – not panic-mongering , cheap point-scoring, miss-use of data. Basic rationality is already under attack from the covid deniers/Bill Gates obsessives and anti-Vaxxers, without ignorance of basic statistical method adding to the growing death of reason in current Western society- as it ideologically implodes along with its economic crisis – those ‘morbid symptoms’ Gramsci commented on as occurring as ruling class ‘common sense’ hegemonic ideology loses its grip during capitalist crises.

      5. What is it that I am “simply wrong” about?

        Once upon a time in Wuhan, there was a single human** infected with the original Covid-19 virus. At some point later on there were two … and then four, eight, 16, 32 infections … and later still (mid-February) 2^7 deaths *per day*.

        ** In practice, there may have been independent, parallel, instances of cross-species infection.

        With hindsight, it is fair (but also rather easy) to say that Skwawkbox’s concern about US child deaths was premature.

        But the logic and the danger of exponential change is that the rate of change is independent of the absolute numbers — that it is “scale-free”, as the statistics jargon has it — and hence the importance of getting on top of epidemics as quickly as possible.

        This last point is reinforced by the very interesting study in “Nature Human Behaviour” of the efficacy of various non-pharmaceutical interventions (

      6. Seasonal all death mortality rates are interesting. Thankfully the flu jabs from years past are kicking in. Pip Pip.

      7. Wobbly – We also shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the current restrictions (incl self imposed ones) will distort the stats on excess deaths. Influenza also spreads through contact so flu deaths are bound to be down from what was expected as are trauma deaths.
        Thankfully sorting out this statistical mess will be the responsibility of others who know about this stuff.

      8. Don’t you just love Wolfie? The man with no self awareness who calls anyone showing any critical thinking ‘antivaxx nutters’, ‘conspirialoons’ amongst other things while framing his words to claim deaths have all been from Covid-19 rather than WITH Covid 19 then goes on to say “We need rationality and logic and basic statistical understanding to help us get through this crisis – not panic-mongering , cheap point-scoring, miss-use of data” without so much as his tongue in his cheek or any sense of irony.
        Wolfie you’re a classic.

      9. lundiel – It is self evident that you and the art of critical thinking are strangers.

      10. Julian,you are wrong yet again ! The rate of change is most certainly NOT ‘independent of the absolute numbers’ ! Without accurate statistics it is impossible to accurately work out any of the key features of any virus – that vital ‘R’ number for a start. That you think the stats is ‘scale free’ is a very basic misunderstanding of statistics ! Very small sample numbers are always the bugbear of accurate statistical analysis – which is why polling companies make such errors in small sample surveys. It is impossible to determine whether a , say, 300% rise (or fall) in child covid deaths over a short time period is part of any genuine trend at all – or just an one-off anomaly , due, for instance, to a small number of very already very sick, vulnerable, children dying over a short timeframe . This tells us nothing about potential longer term trends. – up, or down.

        To provide an accurate picture of future trend direction, or if indeed there is any trend developing, statistics need reasonably large sample numbers . Do some reading on statistical analysis, and the pitfalls therein, Julian.

      11. I think we are talking past each other; I am talking about the maths, you are talking about the data.

        It is of course true that one needs a series of data points to determine whether a process is exponential, or obeys some other law (linear, quadratic, cubic, etc.; see

        And in practice epidemics will in fact follow a logistic path, as the proportion of the population that remains uninfected declines.

      12. Are we absolutely sure that this virus did really start in Wuhan ? I seem to remember reading , rightly or wrongly , that the virus was already present in small numbers elsewhere in the world ( Italy ??? ) before focus centred on Wuhan, due to greater concentration in close proximity of population with the exponential increase in cases.
        I.e is China really to blame , as if they would deliberately want to cause this , there again in the cesspool of Trumps mind ,,, they did!

  1. The Who are distancing themselves from the vaccines not properly tested and rushed through with no liability clauses.Why now are we being warned after vaccination as started around the world.Because the WHO are covering their backsides from whats turning into a moneyfest for Big pharma without any liability arising.Totally corrupt government,what do you expect when you put your faith in public schoolboys and titled tory tribute act.

  2. Some apparently reputable medics seem to think it’s more transmissible by 70%, but like everyone else they’re working with statistics.
    If the mutation occurred in London one would expect it to represent a larger proportion of the whole there than elsewhere, as seems to be the case, especially if it began in a trough as people became less careful about precautions.
    The overall growth may still have happened with or without the new strain and could easily be accounted for by overconfident people getting sick of bothering with restrictions and regulations as infections were falling.
    TV images of hordes of people ignoring distancing while drinking outside pubs would certainly seem to support that, new strain or not.

    1. The WHO are not to be trusted,like everyone in governing industry They make a good living out of people like us(ordinary working class)and they have sat on the fence on many occasions like our Labour socialist mps and watched the world go by.Well it looks like somthings not right has they are quickly distancing themselves from the vaccines and the tracing of the CV19,or is it 20 now?.I really concerned about the government payoffs and engineering of ordinary everyday life that will become permanently law.Human rights,employment law enforcement agencies,Social security,pensions,NHS are all threatened, not by the virus but a particular virulant form the capitilism and greed that has spread like a pandemic across all the major parties in the UK….and many would say the western world.

      1. The WHO are not to be trusted,like everyone in governing industry…

        …and anyone else currently residing in Bill Gates’ pocket!

      2. Shit, you’re not still wearing those old panties?
        Gates is part of the 1% and they all deserve the fires – but for CAUSE – not for made-up ghost stories told to two-year-olds by six-year-olds.
        ALL the 1% have ALL governments – and therefore ALL of our futures – in their communal, criminal pockets.

      3. Joseph – On the one hand we have you who admires the authoritarian and undemocratic regimes of Russia and China, Someone who has chosen to live in Cambodia which is widely recognised as one of the most corrupt regimes in the world and maintains its grip on power by subjecting their opposition to mass show trials. A regime that is propped up by that ‘well known bastion of personal freedom and defender of free speech’ China.
        Whilst on the other hand we have our well respected institutions that you desperately seek to undermine in your quest to impose your ‘Animal Farm’ ideology on the rest of us. (A well known technique that is popular with malevolent people like Trump, Putin and Erdoğan). Boris is another one who seeks to undermine the institutions that protect us from the executive.
        I do find it intriguing that the extremes of politics on both the far left and right favour the same techniques for seizing power.
        I know where I will be putting my faith and trust and it won’t be in either you or your idiot accomplice.

      4. Steve H….you are the mutant in the Labour party and you also no bugger all about the leader and people of Cambodia.Hun sen has led the country from a murderous rampage by pol pot and he’s rebuilt Cambodia with the help of our neighbours Vietnam and China.We do not need the help from US infiltrators,training Opposition parties and fermenting insurrection.We are still clearing bombs and mines from the lsst time the west decided this part of SEast asia needed democratising.We are dealing with a legacy of Western imperialism and we are still see the results of chemical weapons decimating familys with severe berth defects from US illegal bombing of the Mekong delta were I live and still help.You really need to keep your gob shut on somthing you know nothing about and have never experienced.Don’t try political point scoring against the most beautiful and lovely people that walk the planet…disgusted even by such a low life as you.

      5. Joseph – I have not been critical about the people of Cambodia, I reserved my criticism for the corrupt regime and their Chinese enablers that rules over them. The Cambodian people appear to be the ones who are suffering whilst the ruling family (who’s praises you sing) continue to accumulate vast wealth.

        ‘Stranglehold’: Hun Sen rules Cambodia and his family own it, says report

        A transparency watchdog has alleged a “stranglehold” on the Cambodian economy by the family of Hun Sen – one of the world’s most notorious autocrats, who has ruled the south-east Asian country across three decades.

        Investigators from UK-based Global Witness who traced corporate ownership said they had uncovered numerous examples where companies linked to members of the Hun family managed to secure lucrative public contracts and state concessions to amass vast fortunes.

        “These revelations point to a cruel irony of Hun Sen’s model of dictatorship – his family has Cambodia’s economy so sewn up that Phnom Penh residents are likely to struggle to avoid lining the pockets of their oppressors multiple times a day,” said Patrick Alley, Co-Founder of Global Witness.

        Firms associated with the Hun family span the majority of Cambodia’s most lucrative business sectors, including trade, finance, energy and tourism, according to the report, while also operating within a number of sectors notorious for corruption including gambling, construction, agriculture and mining.

        In some cases these companies have driven “devastating impacts for Cambodian citizens and the environment, including land grabs that have caused mass displacements and destitution among Cambodia’s rural poor”, Global Witness says.

        Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander, has marketed his country to overseas investors as an attractive investment destination with very little regulation and cheap labour.

        Yet despite overall economic growth, six million Cambodians, 40% of the population, still live below or close to the poverty line. And in 2015 Cambodia ranked 150th out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the lowest score in south-east Asia.

        The leader’s tenure has been characterised by electoral fraud and the brutal suppression of political opposition. In 2011 Hun said that if anyone tried to hold a demonstration against his rule “I will beat all those dogs and put them in a cage.”

      6. lundiel – Or alternatively you could just try Googling Cambodia corruption Hun Sen and take your pick. GSY

  3. I’m surprised nobody has pointed out that the rate of mutations of the virus will increase with the number of people infected. Allowing the virus to run free in the population will accelerate the rate of mutations. So the Tories’ lack of control of the spread of the virus has increased the likelihood of more mutations.

    1. tompainesghost – Yes it is a salutary thought that this virulent mutation may never have occurred if Johnson had not been so indecisive throughout this crisis.

      1. Wobbly – I’m guessing that’s why there is worldwide monitoring of mutations for their prevalence and impact.

      2. Steve H is a mutation in his own right wing propaganda.Hes completely sold out on the funders of murder and insurrection The CIA NGO that works closely with the United States government to infiltrate and control poor countries to exploit and plunder.These groups usually Christian evangelical nutters used to try to undermine and influence the local population with bribes and essential services such as food and water.They cause problems with the local Buddists and engineeer the removal of village chiefs and loyal cambodians.Fortunately Hun Sen our PM as finally caught on and many of these so called NGOs have fled back to Washington,and their CIA masters.This NGO scandal has been used to cause serious violence,murder and unwanted insurrection against democratically elected government in S.America and here in Cambodia.Now mr mutant ninja warrior is now sticking his nose into right wing international politics with the usual lies,character assassination and vile US propoganda that fermented the bloody wars of 40 years ago.I pity the poor people of the West Indies(former slaves)that you will soon be a .unwanted guest of.!PS…we have already secured the former Ream air base of the USA and gateway to the S.China sea with Chinese navy that mix with the local population and respect them unlike the US who sought to use the locals for “entertainment” and corrupt and destroy.Anyone that lives in Veitnam will remember how the locals were used and abused by the American military war machine..I cannot think of a worse crime than a guest of a country who has struggled to rise out a nightmare of murder,slaughter and pillage to be subjected to the political intrigues of countrys on the opposite side of the world for “more of the same” .No mr SH we have caught on to the American military dezigns of a safe base in the next war on the SChina sea.We have also caught on to the power of the economy and that to is being rectified with power house of the world nearly acheived in a few years here in S.east Asia..The tables are turning comrade and the machinations of the former world leaders is there for all to see .the collapse of the western capitalist system.You are feeling the effects already and with your corrupted veiw on life can only get worse.I pray that people like you will get your just deserts soon or the British people will be taken back more than a century into a Victorian nightmare whilst you run 🏃away to exploit the former Slaves of the British empire in the windward islands…pack yer bags stevie boy..!

      3. Dangerous…and calulating lies from SH. “Hun Sen former khmer rouge leader” You bloody half wit anyone above fifteen years old in Cambodia who were not inteligensia that were “butchured” had to join the khmer rouge movment.I knew of many decent friends who were forced into the insane dictators army.all suffered or were executed including mothers,babys and all family members that did not comply Hun Sen saught the help of the Veitnemese peoples army to bring democracy and freedom for a scarred and battle bombed and chemical poisenend people against the Khmer rouge and pol pot who fled to the jungles and mountains of Cambodia.Hun sen liberated and emptied the toture prisons of Phnom Penh when he marched into the capital with the Vietnamese army of Liberation.Your lies and the lies of your knight master will catch up with you one day.

      4. Joseph – Although most of them tended to be camp guards rather than a Battalion Commander in charge of 2,000 personnel and a whole region of the country I do believe that others have also made similar excuses for their involvement in past crimes against humanity.
        I haven’t told any lies, all I have done is reiterate what is widely reported in the press and also provided the links so that others can read any quotes in context and make up their own minds. I guess that all the bad press (conveniently banned in Cambodia) must be just another of those pesky world wide conspiracy thingamajigs.
        You must find it comforting that state censorship shelters you and others from most of the nasty bad news and it must also be very reassuring for you that your hero’s state security is kind enough to monitor your social media so they can pop round to gently let you know if you stray off message. 😉

    2. But the virus becomes less virulent with each mutation, so it’s just another headline-grabbing, panic-inducing, public patience-sapping pile of nothing.

      Matt Hancock’s appearance on Marr today could only appear convincing to an utter cretin. A more bare-faced liar Johnson could not hope to have in his cabinet!

      1. What is your source for the claim that the vaccine becomes less infectious with each mutation? As far as I know there is no scientific basis for such a claim.

      2. Well it’s being claimed by those impartial medical talking heads we’re supposed to have total faith in on tv today. The ones from SAGE and the like. If I seem them again and catch a name I’ll get back to you…

      3. Ooops … I asked for evidence that ” the *vaccine becomes less infectious”. One hopes that it is the *virus* that is infectious.

        So far the scientists seem cautiously optimistic that the vaccines presently becoming available will be effective against the mutation currently attracting attention.

      4. To clarify, I meant the virus has less severe effects on the person with this mutation. The talking heads I referred to, though I still cannot identify them, were saying that this was despite being more infectious (ie spreading more rapidly).

      5. There’s no necessary contradiction here. If M is a measure of morbidity resulting from infection, T is a measure of transmissibility, and B is the consequent load on public health services, then

        B = M x T

        If the increase in T is greater than the fall in M, then B will increase.

      6. No, that’s just panicky behaviour by our European neighbours.

        It’s also conceivably a method of exerting indirect pressure on the UK in the Brexit negotiations…

      7. timfrom – 20/12/2020 at 6:08 pm
        “But the virus becomes less virulent with each mutation, “
        …… and your evidence for this little gem is?

      8. Listen mutton head (SH). Viruses work by natural selection and mutate all the time. While they can become more dangerous, that would likely work against them because the carrier would become ill and not pass it on so mutations tend to have little effect or become more easily transmissible but less effective.

      9. lundiel – Please don’t be disingenuous, that isn’t what you said in your original comment.

      10. Err, I didn’t make an original comment mutton head. I answered your ignorant comment to Timfrom. Read the thread.

      11. lundiel – Don’t be silly, you know full well that I am referring to your original comment on this thread.
        Being disingenuous doesn’t help your case one bit.

      12. “Less/more virulent” isn’t innately good or bad – if less virulent leads to longer incubation times, that’s a bad thing.
        Remember, the major reason CV19 spread so far and wide was its long, symptom-free incubation period.

        If this new variant’s “greater transmissiblility” is accompanied by a significant shortening of the incubation time – or more quickly felt/seen symptoms – and I’m not saying it will or it won’t – it’s too soon – shorter incubation will make contact tracing so immeasurably easier even the Tories might be able to get it right.

        Hopefully it’ll become clear soon enough. If incubation time has shortened that could explain the rapid initial spread – but a shorter lockdown will have a massively greater effect – and the xmas break might be enough to prove the case either way.

      13. Sorry – I meant “rapid initial spread” of this new variant, if that wasn’t clear.

      14. WTF are you on? Tompainesghost made the original comment. If you mean my first comment on this article, it had nothing to do with virus mutation.

  4. What R number is the pseudo-scientific ministers attributing to the mutated virus and what is the K number.
    “The researchers have so far identified 12,706 mutations in SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. For 398 of the mutations, there is strong evidence that they have occurred repeatedly and independently. Of those, the researchers honed in on 185 mutations which have occurred at least three times independently during the course of the pandemic”
    “The researchers found no evidence that any of the common mutations are increasing the virus’s transmissibility. Instead, they found most common mutations are neutral for the virus” .
    25th November 2020 The research team from UCL, Cirad and the Université de la Réunion, and the University of Oxford

  5. After reading all the remarks, I can find no mention only the one from Joseph okeefe of the current situation regarding the vaccinations that won’t work if this virus is continually mutating!
    Why has this release been allowed to carry on if it doesn’t work?
    Governments giving the green light to it before it’s been properly tested!
    With no Guarantees of success or liability on behalf of the companies producing the vaccine?
    Who can we trust or believe with so little information regarding our lives and well being?
    Definitely not this Tory run Government!

      Could it hamper a vaccine? Possibly.
      Most coronavirus vaccines are targeting the Spike Protein which the virus uses to latch on to human cells. The vaccines prime the body to be able to spot the spike protein so the immune system can spot the virus.
      However, if the spike protein mutates the body will no longer be able to recognise the virus and vaccines may prove ineffective.
      Professor Calum Semple of Liverpool University said it is “the million-dollar question” whether vaccines will be effective against the new variant of coronavirus but he thinks they will.
      The member of Sage told the BBC’s Breakfast: “Some of the mutations are occurring in the key that the virus uses to unlock the cells. And we see this with flu each year and that’s why the flu vaccine has to change year on year.”
      He added: “I would expect the vaccine still to be reasonably effective because it’s currently 95 per cent effective. Even if we dropped a few percentage points, it’s still going to be good enough, and much better than many other vaccines on the market.
      “And the next bit of good news is that the new vaccines are essentially like emails that we send to the immune system, and they’re very easy to tweak.
      “So if we know that the lock has changed very slightly, we just have to edit that email, change a word or two and then the vaccine that will be ready in six to eight weeks’ time after that, will be competent and better targeted to the new strain.
      “So this is this is not a disaster. This isn’t a breakdown in all our plans. This is just what we expect with a new virus, and it’s what the scientists and the doctors have come to understand, and we will adapt.”
      However there is a possibility that the roll-out of vaccination will lead to selection for mutations that allow the virus to escape from the effect of the vaccine

      But the rest of the article still makes it clear that the scientists still believe that vaccines are the only way we are going to get on top of this crisis.

      1. Steve H mutant…Have you not a single original thought rather than these articles you regurgitate every sly comment with.The inernet as become a dangerous tool of propoganda for people with your corrupted and mutated veiws…Squawky gives the veiws and reports of whats really going on in your confused right wing Labour party,whilst others struggle on to get it for the working-class members of the democratic socialist Labour party of which you are the mutated version..You and your misfits are far more dangerous than any virus to the wellbeing of the working-class in Britain.

  6. The effectiveness of a vaccine can only be fully tested in the general population, the efficacy and side effect are completed on healthy cohort subjects.
    In addition how long-term immunity the vaccine gives and whether those who have been immunised can still pass on the virus will be determined in the future.
    CAPTAIN HINDSIGHT will be in his element.

    1. SM – The only thing we can be certain of at the moment is that if people don’t take the vaccines then they will fail.

      1. Let me finish that sentence for you.

        …to be taken in by any of our other bullshit claims!

      2. timfrom – So speaks ‘the voice of reason’ from a anti-vaxer, listen at your peril.

      3. lundiel – Silly me…. and there was I thinking that they were vaccinating the most vulnerable first. For goodness sake put your brain in gear before putting pen to paper.

      4. They have no plans to vaccinate children. Jesus, it’s like shooting ducks in a barrel with you. Why do you bother? You must be a masochist.

      5. lundiel – As the article you refer to makes clear children are at very little risk so what was the point you were trying to make when you said. “Err yes Einstein, that’s why they’re not vaccinating children.” Please just explain rather than pleasuring yourself with silly point scoring.

      6. Doug – I don’t know, I’m sure you are as anxious to tell us all as we are to know so why don’t you just go ahead and save us all the anxiety of the unknown by revealing all?.

    2. Oh God, bangs head on table.
      Me: “they’re not vaccinating children.”
      You: “there was I thinking that they were vaccinating the most vulnerable first.”
      Implies children would come later.
      Just go away, stop writing ignorant rubbish and always trying to have the last word. I’ve read loads of your silly arguments with people and wonder if you have personality problems.

      1. lundiel – I’m still waiting for an explanation of your original response “Err yes Einstein, that’s why they’re not vaccinating children.”. Is there any chance of you obliging, or do you find silly point scoring more satisfying?

      2. OK
        What should we do once the ‘vulnerable ‘ have been vaccinated, will the bed wetters let the other 99% get on with our lives

      3. You’re not the only one! I think it’s delusions of dominion over threads or something…

    3. You: “The only thing we can be certain of at the moment is that if people don’t take the vaccines then they will fail.”
      Me: “Err yes Einstein, that’s why they’re not vaccinating children.”
      Because if they don’t vaccinate them the vaccine will fail by your reckoning. Capeesh Comprende

      1. lundiel – If only you had explained yourself better in your original and subsequent responses then an awful lot of toing and froing as well as time would have been saved, perhaps a lesson learned for the future.

  7. BoJo the Compulsive Liar! Truth is not just a casualty of war, it is a stranger in his world where fantasy stories are preferable to ‘difficult truths & hard facts’. Hard to go through life with your fingers crossed. Hope & soap Boris!

  8. Please listen to John Edmunds my man of the match. I did not like him at first (back in March) but he has grown on me. He is so restrained when answerign questiosn from stupid journalists (there are a lot about). The WHO does not say what the Skwawkbox says it does in its headline and intro. The information released from advance study is that the transmissibilty is 71% higher than the previous variant. This newly identified strain/ variant is variant ‘C’ we are tallking about, and we now see in the UK in London and the Southeast. The virus has been mutating in the UK since we first got it. We do not know if strain ‘C’ will be susceptible to the vaccine but it is highly likely our immune systems will be greatly enhanced with vaccine to fight it. We have the genetic code of this strain and there are 23 differences in it to the previous virus we know about here. Strain C mutation hasbeen shown in other countries including Sout Africa. Other countries have other mutations without doubt. We have a strong scientific ability here to identify new strains. It is not helpful dear Skwawkbox to spread another strain of misinterpretaiton. As if the Government poor messaging is not enough, the worst messaging I have ever come acoss in my life which when pre my retirement, was largely about messaging. And the hordes leaving London are frankly an ignorant lot of bastards carrying variants with them to many as yet unvaccinated parents and grandparents.. Get a grip.

  9. Calling JULIAN WELLS. It is your old friend Rosie Brocklehurst here! I completely agree with you about SKWAWKS irresponsible interpretation here on WHO . Dangerous stuff. But conspiracies and misunderstandings actually seems to serve the Bonkers’ Johnson and his money-mad chums.

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