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COVID-19 variant 45 pct more contagious than original virus: Israeli research

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:23, April 21, 2021

JERUSALEM, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have found that the COVID-19 variant detected in Britain and other countries is 45 percent more contagious than the original virus, the Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel said on Tuesday.

In a study published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, TAU researchers compared the reproduction number, or R number, of the original COVID-19 virus with that of the variant, termed B.1.1.7, and found out that the variant is almost 1.5 times more infectious.

If the R number, an indicator used to determine how fast the COVID-19 is spreading, is greater than 1, it means that the number of patients increases at an exponential rate and multiplies from time to time.

The researchers based their research on the data from about 300,000 PCR tests for COVID-19 obtained from a testing lab, according to the study.

On Dec. 24, 2020, it was found out that only 5 percent of the positive results of COVID-19 tests in Israel were attributed to the variant, but the percentage sharply climbed to 90 percent just six weeks later, and to 99.5 percent now.

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