A new study released by a team of British scientists suggests that a coronavirus variant that was recently discovered in England is 56 percent more contagious than the original strain.
The study, released by the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, noted that while the data suggests that the new variant is more contagious, there are no results showing it to be more deadly, The New York Times reported.
Researchers warned that stricter measures should be taken due to the new variant, however, including shutting down universities and schools. They also advocated for more widespread vaccinations.
“It may be necessary to greatly accelerate vaccine rollout,” they said, according to the Times.
Alessandro Vespignani, director of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University in Boston, was not involved in the study, but agreed with the findings.
“While we were all rejoicing for the vaccine,” he told the newspaper, “here is the possibility of a change of epidemiological context that makes our next few months much more complex and more perilous to navigate.”
“Evidence is accumulating that the variant is more transmissible, and this implies that it will likely require an even greater effort to keep spreading under control,” he added.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention announced earlier this week that the new strain could already be present in the United States. It also stated that it is working to determine itself how quickly the virus is transmitted.