Scientists fear that the so-called Indian Covid variant could result in a third wave virus infections across the UK.
Early research has revealed that the mutant strain of the virus could be 50% more infectious than the Kent variant, which swept the UK over winter.
It is feared that this could lead to recordings of 1,000 daily deaths and 10,000 daily hospitalisations in the UK, according to the Mirror.
The strain is said to be the cause of a deadly surge in cases in India – where daily infections previously peaked beyond 400,000.
Scottish health experts say that a recent spike in cases in Glasgow could be caused by variant – which is yet to be confirmed.
A number of cases of the mutant B.1.617.2 strain have also been discovered by experts south of the border.
Scientists advising the SAGE emergency committee this month say if lockdown is fully lifted after June and the Indian variant is 50% more transmissible, it could trigger up to 20,000 UK hospital admissions per day in the worst-case scenario.
The SPI-M subgroup said it was sure the mutant B.1.617.2 strain was more infectious and that it could spread up to 50 per cent more easily.
And a Warwick University modelling team said that if the Indian strain was 40 per cent more transmissible, the next surge could see 6,000 people admitted to UK hospitals per day – which is less than the second wave.
However, figures from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine suggested a 50 per cent higher transmissible could lead to 4,000 per day.
But their figures also forecast that the variant could lead to 1,000 deaths a day by autumn, which is about the same as the peak last spring.
But ministers and experts have insisted there is no evidence the vaccines are less effective against the Indian strain, or other mutant variants.