The Delta variant will spread across Europe and “stronger border measures” may have delayed its spread in the UK, Professor Peter Horby said.
He said modelling of the Alpha, or Kent, variant allowed scientists to predict it was going to be “very transmissible” and “spread very widely”.
Professor Peter Horby is one of several scientists to be knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their work fighting the pandemic, and is now heading Oxford University’s new Pandemic Sciences Centre.
He went on to say: “That same modelling for the Delta variant would suggest that that’s a more transmissible strain, it will be very difficult to control and so I think we will see it spreading in Europe, unfortunately.”
Asked if the Delta variant’s spread was due to not having strong enough border measures earlier in the summer, Prof Horby said: “It’s clear that the Delta variant started to transmit within in the UK because of introductions from other countries.
“So I think there is a case to be said that that did happen and stronger border measures may have delayed that, may even have prevented it. But there is an obvious trade-off that policymakers and politicians have to make between absolute complete restrictions and stopping various viruses coming in,” he said.