The new variant of the CCP virus observed in England recently does spread faster, England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty confirmed on Saturday.
He said that "urgent work is underway" to make sure it doesn't affect the mortality rate.
“As a result of the rapid spread of the new variant, preliminary modelling data and rapidly rising incidence rates in the South East, the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) now consider that the new strain can spread more quickly.”
Whitty said the UK had alerted the World Health Organisation and is continuing to analyse the available data.
"There is no current evidence to suggest the new strain causes a higher mortality rate or that it affects vaccines and treatments although urgent work is underway to confirm this," he added.
Whitty's statement was published as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his senior ministers discuss actions needed in light of the new development in an urgent cabinet meeting.
The PM will hold a briefing with Whitty and his Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance at 4 p.m. to address the nation.
The mutation is in “a region referred to as the receptor binding motif (RBM) of the Spike protein,” according to the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, which randomly sequences about 10 percent of UK’s positive samples of the CCP virus, and produces a weekly report for PHE.
COG-UK said the RBM is responsible for viral entry via its interaction with the receptor (hACE2) on host cells.