Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

This is an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication. Nature Research are providing this early version of the manuscript as a service to our authors and readers. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting and a proof review before it is published in its final form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers apply.

Assessing transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 in England

Abstract

The SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7, designated a Variant of Concern 202012/01 (VOC) by Public Health England1, originated in the UK in late Summer to early Autumn 20202. Whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequence data collected from community-based diagnostic testing shows an unprecedentedly rapid expansion of the B.1.1.7 lineage during Autumn 2020, suggesting a selective advantage. We find that changes in VOC frequency inferred from genetic data correspond closely to changes inferred by S-gene target failures (SGTF) in community-based diagnostic PCR testing. Analysis of trends in SGTF and non-SGTF case numbers in local areas across England shows that the VOC has higher transmissibility than non-VOC lineages, even if the VOC has a different latent period or generation time. The SGTF data indicate a transient shift in the age composition of reported cases, with a larger share of under 20 year olds among reported VOC than non-VOC cases. Time-varying reproduction numbers for the VOC and cocirculating lineages were estimated using SGTF and genomic data. The best supported models did not indicate a substantial difference in VOC transmissibility among different age groups. There is a consensus among all analyses that the VOC has a substantial transmission advantage with a 50% to 100% higher reproduction number.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Consortia

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Erik Volz or Neil M. Ferguson.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains the Supplementary Methods, Supplementary References and Supplementary Table 1.

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Data 1

The number of diagnosed cases over time for all English STP regions. Each line segment is shaded with the frequency of SGTF in each week. Vertical shaded regions represent the time of the 2nd and third UK lockdowns.

Supplementary Information

This file contains the full list of members of the COG-UK Consortium.

Peer Review File

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Volz, E., Mishra, S., Chand, M. et al. Assessing transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 in England. Nature (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03470-x

Download citation

Further reading

  • Implications of a highly transmissible variant of SARS-CoV-2 for children

    • Oliver Ratmann
    • , Samir Bhatt
    •  & Seth Flaxman

    Archives of Disease in Childhood (2021)

  • Impact of January 2021 curfew measures on SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 circulation in France

    • Laura Di Domenico
    • , Chiara E Sabbatini
    • , Giulia Pullano
    • , Daniel Lévy-Bruhl
    •  & Vittoria Colizza

    Eurosurveillance (2021)

  • Genomics and epidemiology of the P.1 SARS-CoV-2 lineage in Manaus, Brazil

    • Nuno R. Faria
    • , Thomas A. Mellan
    • , Charles Whittaker
    • , Ingra M. Claro
    • , Darlan da S. Candido
    • , Swapnil Mishra
    • , Myuki A. E. Crispim
    • , Flavia C. S. Sales
    • , Iwona Hawryluk
    • , John T. McCrone
    • , Ruben J. G. Hulswit
    • , Lucas A. M. Franco
    • , Mariana S. Ramundo
    • , Jaqueline G. de Jesus
    • , Pamela S. Andrade
    • , Thais M. Coletti
    • , Giulia M. Ferreira
    • , Camila A. M. Silva
    • , Erika R. Manuli
    • , Rafael H. M. Pereira
    • , Pedro S. Peixoto
    • , Moritz U. G. Kraemer
    • , Nelson Gaburo
    • , Cecilia da C. Camilo
    • , Henrique Hoeltgebaum
    • , William M. Souza
    • , Esmenia C. Rocha
    • , Leandro M. de Souza
    • , Mariana C. de Pinho
    • , Leonardo J. T Araujo
    • , Frederico S. V. Malta
    • , Aline B. de Lima
    • , Joice do P. Silva
    • , Danielle A. G. Zauli
    • , Alessandro C. de S. Ferreira
    • , Ricardo P Schnekenberg
    • , Daniel J. Laydon
    • , Patrick G. T. Walker
    • , Hannah M. Schlüter
    • , Ana L. P. dos Santos
    • , Maria S. Vidal
    • , Valentina S. Del Caro
    • , Rosinaldo M. F. Filho
    • , Helem M. dos Santos
    • , Renato S. Aguiar
    • , José L. Proença-Modena
    • , Bruce Nelson
    • , James A. Hay
    • , Mélodie Monod
    • , Xenia Miscouridou
    • , Helen Coupland
    • , Raphael Sonabend
    • , Michaela Vollmer
    • , Axel Gandy
    • , Carlos A. Prete
    • , Vitor H. Nascimento
    • , Marc A. Suchard
    • , Thomas A. Bowden
    • , Sergei L. K. Pond
    • , Chieh-Hsi Wu
    • , Oliver Ratmann
    • , Neil M. Ferguson
    • , Christopher Dye
    • , Nick J. Loman
    • , Philippe Lemey
    • , Andrew Rambaut
    • , Nelson A. Fraiji
    • , Maria do P. S. S. Carvalho
    • , Oliver G. Pybus
    • , Seth Flaxman
    • , Samir Bhatt
    •  & Ester C. Sabino

    Science (2021)

  • Changes in symptomatology, reinfection, and transmissibility associated with the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7: an ecological study

    • Mark S Graham
    • , Carole H Sudre
    • , Anna May
    • , Michela Antonelli
    • , Benjamin Murray
    • , Thomas Varsavsky
    • , Kerstin Kläser
    • , Liane S Canas
    • , Erika Molteni
    • , Marc Modat
    • , David A Drew
    • , Long H Nguyen
    • , Lorenzo Polidori
    • , Somesh Selvachandran
    • , Christina Hu
    • , Joan Capdevila
    • , Alexander Hammers
    • , Andrew T Chan
    • , Jonathan Wolf
    • , Tim D Spector
    • , Claire J Steves
    • , Sebastien Ourselin
    • , Cherian Koshy
    • , Amy Ash
    • , Emma Wise
    • , Nathan Moore
    • , Matilde Mori
    • , Nick Cortes
    • , Jessica Lynch
    • , Stephen Kidd
    • , Derek J Fairley
    • , Tanya Curran
    • , James P McKenna
    • , Helen Adams
    • , Christophe Fraser
    • , Tanya Golubchik
    • , David Bonsall
    • , Mohammed O Hassan-Ibrahim
    • , Cassandra S Malone
    • , Benjamin J Cogger
    • , Michelle Wantoch
    • , Nicola Reynolds
    • , Ben Warne
    • , Joshua Maksimovic
    • , Karla Spellman
    • , Kathryn McCluggage
    • , Michaela John
    • , Robert Beer
    • , Safiah Afifi
    • , Sian Morgan
    • , Angela Marchbank
    • , Anna Price
    • , Christine Kitchen
    • , Huw Gulliver
    • , Ian Merrick
    • , Joel Southgate
    • , Martyn Guest
    • , Robert Munn
    • , Trudy Workman
    • , Thomas R Connor
    • , William Fuller
    • , Catherine Bresner
    • , Luke B Snell
    • , Amita Patel
    • , Themoula Charalampous
    • , Gaia Nebbia
    • , Rahul Batra
    • , Jonathan Edgeworth
    • , Samuel C Robson
    • , Angela H Beckett
    • , David M Aanensen
    • , Anthony P Underwood
    • , Corin A Yeats
    • , Khalil Abudahab
    • , Ben EW Taylor
    • , Mirko Menegazzo
    • , Gemma Clark
    • , Wendy Smith
    • , Manjinder Khakh
    • , Vicki M Fleming
    • , Michelle M Lister
    • , Hannah C Howson-Wells
    • , Louise Berry
    • , Tim Boswell
    • , Amelia Joseph
    • , Iona Willingham
    • , Carl Jones
    • , Christopher Holmes
    • , Paul Bird
    • , Thomas Helmer
    • , Karlie Fallon
    • , Julian Tang
    • , Veena Raviprakash
    • , Sharon Campbell
    • , Nicola Sheriff
    • , Victoria Blakey
    • , Lesley-Anne Williams
    • , Matthew W Loose
    • , Nadine Holmes
    • , Christopher Moore
    • , Matthew Carlile
    • , Victoria Wright
    • , Fei Sang
    • , Johnny Debebe
    • , Francesc Coll
    • , Adrian W Signell
    • , Gilberto Betancor
    • , Harry D Wilson
    • , Sahar Eldirdiri
    • , Anita Kenyon
    • , Thomas Davis
    • , Oliver G Pybus
    • , Louis du Plessis
    • , Alex E Zarebski
    • , Jayna Raghwani
    • , Moritz UG Kraemer
    • , Sarah Francois
    • , Stephen W Attwood
    • , Tetyana I Vasylyeva
    • , Marina Escalera Zamudio
    • , Bernardo Gutierrez
    • , M. Estee Torok
    • , William L Hamilton
    • , Ian G Goodfellow
    • , Grant Hall
    • , Aminu S Jahun
    • , Yasmin Chaudhry
    • , Myra Hosmillo
    • , Malte L Pinckert
    • , Iliana Georgana
    • , Samuel Moses
    • , Hannah Lowe
    • , Luke Bedford
    • , Jonathan Moore
    • , Susanne Stonehouse
    • , Chloe L Fisher
    • , Ali R Awan
    • , John BoYes
    • , Judith Breuer
    • , Kathryn Ann Harris
    • , Julianne Rose Brown
    • , Divya Shah
    • , Laura Atkinson
    • , Jack CD Lee
    • , Nathaniel Storey
    • , Flavia Flaviani
    • , Adela Alcolea-Medina
    • , Rebecca Williams
    • , Gabrielle Vernet
    • , Michael R Chapman
    • , Lisa J Levett
    • , Judith Heaney
    • , Wendy Chatterton
    • , Monika Pusok
    • , Li Xu-McCrae
    • , Darren L Smith
    • , Matthew Bashton
    • , Gregory R Young
    • , Alison Holmes
    • , Paul Anthony Randell
    • , Alison Cox
    • , Pinglawathee Madona
    • , Frances Bolt
    • , James Price
    • , Siddharth Mookerjee
    • , Manon Ragonnet-Cronin
    • , Fabricia F. Nascimento
    • , David Jorgensen
    • , Igor Siveroni
    • , Rob Johnson
    • , Olivia Boyd
    • , Lily Geidelberg
    • , Erik M Volz
    • , Aileen Rowan
    • , Graham P Taylor
    • , Katherine L Smollett
    • , Nicholas J Loman
    • , Joshua Quick
    • , Claire McMurray
    • , Joanne Stockton
    • , Sam Nicholls
    • , Will Rowe
    • , Radoslaw Poplawski
    • , Alan McNally
    • , Rocio T Martinez Nunez
    • , Jenifer Mason
    • , Trevor I Robinson
    • , Elaine O'Toole
    • , Joanne Watts
    • , Cassie Breen
    • , Angela Cowell
    • , Graciela Sluga
    • , Nicholas W Machin
    • , Shazaad S Y Ahmad
    • , Ryan P George
    • , Fenella Halstead
    • , Venkat Sivaprakasam
    • , Wendy Hogsden
    • , Chris J Illingworth
    • , Chris Jackson
    • , Emma C Thomson
    • , James G Shepherd
    • , Patawee Asamaphan
    • , Marc O Niebel
    • , Kathy K Li
    • , Rajiv N Shah
    • , Natasha G Jesudason
    • , Lily Tong
    • , Alice Broos
    • , Daniel Mair
    • , Jenna Nichols
    • , Stephen N Carmichael
    • , Kyriaki Nomikou
    • , Elihu Aranday-Cortes
    • , Natasha Johnson
    • , Igor Starinskij
    • , Ana da Silva Filipe
    • , David L Robertson
    • , Richard J Orton
    • , Joseph Hughes
    • , Sreenu Vattipally
    • , Joshua B Singer
    • , Seema Nickbakhsh
    • , Antony D Hale
    • , Louissa R Macfarlane-Smith
    • , Katherine L Harper
    • , Holli Carden
    • , Yusri Taha
    • , Brendan AI Payne
    • , Shirelle Burton-Fanning
    • , Sheila Waugh
    • , Jennifer Collins
    • , Gary Eltringham
    • , Steven Rushton
    • , Sarah O'Brien
    • , Amanda Bradley
    • , Alasdair Maclean
    • , Guy Mollett
    • , Rachel Blacow
    • , Kate E Templeton
    • , Martin P McHugh
    • , Rebecca Dewar
    • , Elizabeth Wastenge
    • , Samir Dervisevic
    • , Rachael Stanley
    • , Emma J Meader
    • , Lindsay Coupland
    • , Louise Smith
    • , Clive Graham
    • , Edward Barton
    • , Debra Padgett
    • , Garren Scott
    • , Emma Swindells
    • , Jane Greenaway
    • , Andrew Nelson
    • , Clare M McCann
    • , Wen C Yew
    • , Monique Andersson
    • , Timothy Peto
    • , Anita Justice
    • , David Eyre
    • , Derrick Crook
    • , Tim J Sloan
    • , Nichola Duckworth
    • , Sarah Walsh
    • , Anoop J Chauhan
    • , Sharon Glaysher
    • , Kelly Bicknell
    • , Sarah Wyllie
    • , Scott Elliott
    • , Allyson Lloyd
    • , Robert Impey
    • , Nick Levene
    • , Lynn Monaghan
    • , Declan T Bradley
    • , Tim Wyatt
    • , Elias Allara
    • , Clare Pearson
    • , Husam Osman
    • , Andrew Bosworth
    • , Esther Robinson
    • , Peter Muir
    • , Ian B Vipond
    • , Richard Hopes
    • , Hannah M Pymont
    • , Stephanie Hutchings
    • , Martin D Curran
    • , Surendra Parmar
    • , Angie Lackenby
    • , Tamyo Mbisa
    • , Steven Platt
    • , Shahjahan Miah
    • , David Bibby
    • , Carmen Manso
    • , Jonathan Hubb
    • , Meera Chand
    • , Gavin Dabrera
    • , Mary Ramsay
    • , Daniel Bradshaw
    • , Alicia Thornton
    • , Richard Myers
    • , Ulf Schaefer
    • , Natalie Groves
    • , Eileen Gallagher
    • , David Lee
    • , David Williams
    • , Nicholas Ellaby
    • , Ian Harrison
    • , Hassan Hartman
    • , Nikos Manesis
    • , Vineet Patel
    • , Chloe Bishop
    • , Vicki Chalker
    • , Juan Ledesma
    • , Katherine A Twohig
    • , Matthew T.G. Holden
    • , Sharif Shaaban
    • , Alec Birchley
    • , Alexander Adams
    • , Alisha Davies
    • , Amy Gaskin
    • , Amy Plimmer
    • , Bree Gatica-Wilcox
    • , Caoimhe McKerr
    • , Catherine Moore
    • , Chris Williams
    • , David Heyburn
    • , Elen De Lacy
    • , Ember Hilvers
    • , Fatima Downing
    • , Giri Shankar
    • , Hannah Jones
    • , Hibo Asad
    • , Jason Coombes
    • , Joanne Watkins
    • , Johnathan M Evans
    • , Laia Fina
    • , Laura Gifford
    • , Lauren Gilbert
    • , Lee Graham
    • , Malorie Perry
    • , Mari Morgan
    • , Matthew Bull
    • , Michelle Cronin
    • , Nicole Pacchiarini
    • , Noel Craine
    • , Rachel Jones
    • , Robin Howe
    • , Sally Corden
    • , Sara Rey
    • , Sara Kumziene-SummerhaYes
    • , Sarah Taylor
    • , Simon Cottrell
    • , Sophie Jones
    • , Sue Edwards
    • , Justin O'Grady
    • , Andrew J Page
    • , Alison E Mather
    • , David J Baker
    • , Steven Rudder
    • , Alp Aydin
    • , Gemma L Kay
    • , Alexander J Trotter
    • , Nabil-Fareed Alikhan
    • , Leonardo de Oliveira Martins
    • , Thanh Le-Viet
    • , Lizzie Meadows
    • , Anna Casey
    • , Liz Ratcliffe
    • , David A Simpson
    • , Zoltan Molnar
    • , Thomas Thompson
    • , Erwan Acheson
    • , Jane AH Masoli
    • , Bridget A Knight
    • , Sian Ellard
    • , Cressida Auckland
    • , Christopher R Jones
    • , Tabitha W Mahungu
    • , Dianne Irish-Tavares
    • , Tanzina Haque
    • , Jennifer Hart
    • , Eric Witele
    • , Melisa Louise Fenton
    • , Ashok Dadrah
    • , Amanda Symmonds
    • , Tranprit Saluja
    • , Yann Bourgeois
    • , Garry P Scarlett
    • , Katie F Loveson
    • , Salman Goudarzi
    • , Christopher Fearn
    • , Kate Cook
    • , Hannah Dent
    • , Hannah Paul
    • , David G Partridge
    • , Mohammad Raza
    • , Cariad Evans
    • , Kate Johnson
    • , Steven Liggett
    • , Paul Baker
    • , Stephen Bonner
    • , Sarah Essex
    • , Ronan A Lyons
    • , Kordo Saeed
    • , Adhyana I.K Mahanama
    • , Buddhini Samaraweera
    • , Siona Silveira
    • , Emanuela Pelosi
    • , Eleri Wilson-Davies
    • , Rachel J Williams
    • , Mark Kristiansen
    • , Sunando Roy
    • , Charlotte A Williams
    • , Marius Cotic
    • , Nadua Bayzid
    • , Adam P Westhorpe
    • , John A Hartley
    • , Riaz Jannoo
    • , Helen L Lowe
    • , Angeliki Karamani
    • , Leah Ensell
    • , Jacqui A Prieto
    • , Sarah Jeremiah
    • , Dimitris Grammatopoulos
    • , Sarojini Pandey
    • , Lisa Berry
    • , Katie Jones
    • , Alex Richter
    • , Andrew Beggs
    • , Angus Best
    • , Benita Percival
    • , Jeremy Mirza
    • , Oliver Megram
    • , Megan Mayhew
    • , Liam Crawford
    • , Fiona Ashcroft
    • , Emma Moles-Garcia
    • , Nicola Cumley
    • , Colin P Smith
    • , Giselda Bucca
    • , Andrew R Hesketh
    • , Beth Blane
    • , Sophia T Girgis
    • , Danielle Leek
    • , Sushmita Sridhar
    • , Sally Forrest
    • , Claire Cormie
    • , Harmeet K Gill
    • , Joana Dias
    • , Ellen E Higginson
    • , Mailis Maes
    • , Jamie Young
    • , Leanne M Kermack
    • , Ravi Kumar Gupta
    • , Catherine Ludden
    • , Sharon J Peacock
    • , Sophie Palmer
    • , Carol M Churcher
    • , Nazreen F Hadjirin
    • , Alessandro M Carabelli
    • , Ellena Brooks
    • , Kim S Smith
    • , Katerina Galai
    • , Georgina M McManus
    • , Chris Ruis
    • , Rose K Davidson
    • , Andrew Rambaut
    • , Thomas Williams
    • , Carlos E Balcazar
    • , Michael D Gallagher
    • , Áine O'Toole
    • , Stefan Rooke
    • , Verity Hill
    • , Kathleen A Williamson
    • , Thomas D Stanton
    • , Stephen L Michell
    • , Claire M Bewshea
    • , Ben Temperton
    • , Michelle L Michelsen
    • , Joanna Warwick-Dugdale
    • , Robin Manley
    • , Audrey Farbos
    • , James W Harrison
    • , Christine M Sambles
    • , David J Studholme
    • , Aaron R Jeffries
    • , Alistair C Darby
    • , Julian A Hiscox
    • , Steve Paterson
    • , Miren Iturriza-Gomara
    • , Kathryn A Jackson
    • , Anita O Lucaci
    • , Edith E Vamos
    • , Margaret Hughes
    • , Lucille Rainbow
    • , Richard Eccles
    • , Charlotte Nelson
    • , Mark Whitehead
    • , Lance Turtle
    • , Sam T Haldenby
    • , Richard Gregory
    • , Matthew Gemmell
    • , Claudia Wierzbicki
    • , Hermione J Webster
    • , Thushan I de Silva
    • , Nikki Smith
    • , Adrienn Angyal
    • , Benjamin B Lindsey
    • , Danielle C Groves
    • , Luke R Green
    • , Dennis Wang
    • , Timothy M Freeman
    • , Matthew D Parker
    • , Alexander J Keeley
    • , Paul J Parsons
    • , Rachel M Tucker
    • , Rebecca Brown
    • , Matthew Wyles
    • , Max Whiteley
    • , Peijun Zhang
    • , Marta Gallis
    • , Stavroula F Louka
    • , Chrystala Constantinidou
    • , Meera Unnikrishnan
    • , Sascha Ott
    • , Jeffrey K.J. Cheng
    • , Hannah E. Bridgewater
    • , Lucy R. Frost
    • , Grace Taylor-Joyce
    • , Richard Stark
    • , Laura Baxter
    • , Mohammad T. Alam
    • , Paul E Brown
    • , Dinesh Aggarwal
    • , Alberto C Cerda
    • , Tammy V Merrill
    • , Rebekah E Wilson
    • , Patrick C McClure
    • , Joseph G Chappell
    • , Theocharis Tsoleridis
    • , Jonathan Ball
    • , David Buck
    • , John A Todd
    • , Angie Green
    • , Amy Trebes
    • , George MacIntyre-Cockett
    • , Mariateresa de Cesare
    • , Alex Alderton
    • , Roberto Amato
    • , Cristina V Ariani
    • , Mathew A Beale
    • , Charlotte Beaver
    • , Katherine L Bellis
    • , Emma Betteridge
    • , James Bonfield
    • , John Danesh
    • , Matthew J Dorman
    • , Eleanor Drury
    • , Ben W Farr
    • , Luke Foulser
    • , Sonia Goncalves
    • , Scott Goodwin
    • , Marina Gourtovaia
    • , Ewan M Harrison
    • , David K Jackson
    • , Dorota Jamrozy
    • , Ian Johnston
    • , Leanne Kane
    • , Sally Kay
    • , Jon-Paul Keatley
    • , Dominic Kwiatkowski
    • , Cordelia F Langford
    • , Mara Lawniczak
    • , Laura Letchford
    • , Rich Livett
    • , Stephanie Lo
    • , Inigo Martincorena
    • , Samantha McGuigan
    • , Rachel Nelson
    • , Steve Palmer
    • , Naomi R Park
    • , Minal Patel
    • , Liam Prestwood
    • , Christoph Puethe
    • , Michael A Quail
    • , Shavanthi Rajatileka
    • , Carol Scott
    • , Lesley Shirley
    • , John Sillitoe
    • , Michael H Spencer Chapman
    • , Scott AJ Thurston
    • , Gerry Tonkin-Hill
    • , Danni Weldon
    • , Diana Rajan
    • , Iraad F Bronner
    • , Louise Aigrain
    • , Nicholas M Redshaw
    • , Stefanie V Lensing
    • , Robert Davies
    • , Andrew Whitwham
    • , Jennifier Liddle
    • , Kevin Lewis
    • , Jaime M Tovar-Corona
    • , Steven Leonard
    • , Jillian Durham
    • , Andrew R Bassett
    • , Shane McCarthy
    • , Robin J Moll
    • , Keith James
    • , Karen Oliver
    • , Alex Makunin
    • , Jeff Barrett
    •  & Rory N Gunson

    The Lancet Public Health (2021)

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing