A new coronavirus mutation known as the Bristol variant might "infect people who were previously infected, or have been previously vaccinated," Professor John Edmunds, a member of the UK government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said Thursday.
"I don't know whether the Bristol variant is any more transmissible than the Kent variant. I suspect it isn't," Edmunds told ITV News.
"Where it has an advantage -- potentially at least -- is that it may be able to infect people who were previously infected, or have been previously vaccinated. That's the worry with that particular virus."
New variants of coronavirus have now been identified in the English cities of Bristol, Liverpool and Manchester, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement Wednesday.
Hancock reiterated the government's commitment to using enhanced contact tracing, surge testing and genomic sequencing to monitor community spread of the new strains.
Some context: Public Health England has said that cases found in Bristol are the new UK variant with the E484K mutation, which has already been identified in the South African and Brazilian variants of the virus. The mutation could allow Covid-19 to escape antibody protection.