New variants of coronavirus are emerging that are more infectious than the original one that started the pandemic.
Scientists are urgently studying these mutated versions to understand what threat they pose.
What are these new variants?
Experts’ concerns currently focus on a small number of new variants of coronavirus:
It’s not unexpected that new variants have developed – all viruses mutate as they make new copies of themselves to spread and thrive.
There are many thousands of different versions, or variants, of Covid circulating.
Most of these differences are inconsequential. A few can even be harmful to the virus’s survival. But some can make it more infectious or threatening.
How serious is this?
It’s suspected that the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants could be much more contagious or easy to catch than earlier versions.