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Norwegian experts find increased risk of hospitalisation with infectious Covid-19 variant

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian experts find increased risk of hospitalisation with infectious Covid-19 variant
A nurse takes care of a Covid-19 patient in the Covid-19 intensive care unit of the university hospital (Universitaetsklinikum) in Essen, western Germany, on March 22, 2021, amid the novel coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. - (Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

A report from Norway's National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has found that people who contract the B117 variant of Covid-19 are 2.6 times more likely to need hospital treatment than those with previous forms of the virus.

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“People infected with the British variant are associated with a 2.6 times higher risk of being admitted to hospital with Covid-19 as the main reason for hospitalisation, department director at the NIPH Line Vold told broadcaster NRK in reference to the more infectious B117 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom late last year and has since spread to many other countries including Norway.

The report also states that B117 is now the dominant virus variant in Norway. At the beginning of March, approximately 72 percent of all new infections in Norway were with the more infectious variant.

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The increase in the likelihood of being admitted to hospital occurs in all age groups, the report found. The study showed that the variant can also cause serious illness in young people and adults under 40.

READ MORE: Why Norway turned down the chance order nearly 700,000 vaccines 

The findings show that of the 1100 people in their thirties who were infected with the B117 variant between December 14th and March 7th, 38 people were hospitalised. This is a share of 3.5 percent compared to the 0.9 percent of people who were admitted with a non-specific variant.

“The risk is still low in the younger age groups, but it is somewhat increased in all age groups from 20 years and upwards where we have such large numbers that we can rely on those numbers,” Vold said.

The study included all new cases between December 14th and March 7th.

In the second week of March, 165 people were admitted to hospital with Covid-19. This the highest number of admissions to hospital with Covid-19 during a week since March 2020.

“It is serious that this new more, contagious variant, also seems to give a higher risk of hospitalisations. We are concerned about the spread of infection with this new variant,” said Vold.

The study is awaiting peer review.

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