A New COVID Delta Descendant Is Rising in the UK

Tara John wrote . . . . . . . . .

British and international authorities are closely monitoring a subtype of the Delta variant that is causing a growing number of infections in the United Kingdom.

This descendant of the Delta variant, known as AY.4.2, accounted for an estimated 6% of cases in the week of September 27 — the last week with complete sequencing data — and is “on an increasing trajectory,” a report by the UK Health Security Agency said.

Little is known about AY.4.2. Some experts have suggested it could be slightly more transmissible than the original Delta variant, though that has not yet been confirmed. While it accounts for a growing number of infections, it is not yet classified in the UK as a “variant of concern.” It currently remains rare beyond Britain, with a small number of cases being recorded in Denmark and the US, expert Francois Balloux told the Science Media Center (SMC) on Tuesday.

“As AY.4.2 is still at fairly low frequency, a 10% increase its transmissibility could have caused only a small number of additional cases. As such it hasn’t been driving the recent increase in case numbers in the UK,” Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology and Director at the UCL Genetics Institute, told the SMC.

While new variants have repeatedly overtaken one another to become the dominant strain globally in the past year, experts say it is too soon to know whether AY.4.2 will become significant. In the UK, “Delta very rapidly in a matter of weeks” outpaced the Alpha variant by the summer, Deepti Gurdasani, a senior epidemiology lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, told CNN. “That’s not what we’re seeing here, we’re seeing sort of a slow increase in proportion that suggests that it’s not hugely more transmissible, it might be slightly more transmissible.

Balloux agreed, telling SMC that “this [is] not a situation comparable to the emergence of Alpha and Delta that were far more transmissible (50% or more) than any strain in circulation at the time. Here we are dealing with a potential small increase in transmissibility that would not have a comparable impact on the pandemic.”

Source: CNN

McDonald’s to Launch Its Plant-based McPlant Burger in the UK and Ireland

Rachel Smith wrote . . . . . . . . .

McDonald’s has been teasing us with the McPlant burger for quite some time now. And now, it’s finally making its debut in the UK and Ireland.The American fast-food chain has been trialling the McPlant burger in select locations across Sweden and Denmark to gain customer insight before rolling it out to more locations.

However, there’s one major difference with the UK version of the McPlant Burger – it’s made with a bespoke vegan cheese and cheese sauce!According to the company, the vegan cheese is made from pea protein and ‘tastes just like McDonald’s iconic cheese slices.’

Previously the McPlant burger was made with non-vegan cheese and mayonnaise making it unsuitable for vegans. But for its UK launch, the McPlant burger will be entirely vegan following customer feedback.

In fact, it will even be cooked separately from other McDonald’s burgers and sandwiches using dedicated utensils to ensure peace of mind for vegan customers.Moreover, the McPlant burger will be priced at £3.19 – the same cost as the chain’s popular Big Mac beef burger.

McDonald’s and Beyond MeatThe fast-food chain has teamed up with vegan meat giant Beyond Meat to offer a plant-based patty that ‘delivers the same great taste and experience you would expect from a McDonald’s burger’.

Beyond Meat signed a 3-year global contract with the fast-food chain earlier this year, indicating big changes on the horizon.

Founder and CEO of Beyond Meat Ethan Brown commented: “We will combine the power of Beyond Meat’s rapid and relentless approach to innovation with the strength of McDonald’s global brand to introduce craveable, new plant-based menu items that consumers will love.”

McDonald’s will be trialling the new McPlant burger in 10 restaurants in Coventry from 29th September ahead of its roll-out to a further 250+ stores nationwide in January.

Source: Vegan Food and Living

Pork Shoulder Doughnut of From The Ashes BBQ in London, U.K.

Features handmade doughnut, chili jam, bbq sauce, smoked pork shoulder and a dusting of crackling.

The price is £8.

In Pictures: Food of Vegan Restaurants in London, U.K.

In Pictures: Food of Vegan Restaurants in London, U.K. (2)