“Suddenly, there is this figure out there, 70 percent, and no one even knows what is meant by that,” he said. The virologist believes there is just not enough data to really say that the new strain is any more dangerous than the other existing ones.

The data provided by the British scientists on the new strain is still incomplete, Drosten said, adding that even preliminary analysis results would arrive within a week. The fact that discovery of a new strain coincided with a sharp rise of new infection cases in southeast England also does not necessarily mean that the new virus is to blame, the virologist believes.



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