In terms of how dangerous the variant is, it’s hard to tell at the moment.
PHE declared it a “variant under investigation”, a label given to potentially concerning new strains that aren’t very well understood.
Scientists are now working hard to confirm whether or not the Indian variant is worse than other strains going around right now.
More dangerous is classified by factors such as whether or not it’s spreading more quickly, causing more severe disease reactions in the infected or evading immunity built up from previous illness or vaccination.
Director of the COVID-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Dr Jeffrey Barrett said the Indian strain should be “watched carefully”, but added it’s “probably not at the top tier of mutations that generate the most concern”.