A new variant of coronavirus has been detected in the UK and is now under investigation, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
The investigation began on Wednesday into the variant currently known as B.1.621. Just 16 cases have been found so far.
The UK public health body said that there has not been any evidence yet to show that the vaccines are any less effective in combatting it.
PHE added that it is undergoing lab tests to understand the variant’s mutation behaviour, while targeted testing has been deployed.
It comes as the Delta variant, the primary variant of concern in the UK, has been suggested to be 46 per cent more likely to cause reinfections than the Alpha variant which was first found in Kent, according to PHE.
While the overall chances are low, the Delta variant poses a higher risk, according to the health body’s latest figures.
Around 1,788 people were admitted to the hospital after testing positive for the Delta variant in the weeks from 21 June to 19 July.
Of those infected, 54 per cent were unvaccinated while 30 per cent, which accounts for 530 people, had received both doses of their vaccine.
3,692 people in total have so far been admitted to the hospital with the Delta variant.