(NBC) – Two new studies suggest that while the COVID-19 variant first identified in the UK and now the dominant strain in the US appears to be more transmissible but it does not increase disease severity.
In one study scientists sequenced virus samples from 341 patients who were admitted to two British hospitals.
No evidence of an association between the variant and more severe illness and death was found. But it does appear to lead to higher viral load, suggesting that it is more transmissible than the original strain.
The second study used data from nearly 37,000 British users of a self-reporting COVID-19 symptom app and the prevalence of the data in certain regions.
The scientists found no evidence that the variant altered the types or duration of COVID symptoms.
There was also no apparent increase in reinfection when compared to those who did not have the variant.
The CDC announced last week that the UK variant was now the dominant strain in the US.