Vietnamese Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said on Saturday the country had detected a new variant of the coronavirus, a mixture of the Indian and British variants of COVID-19 that spreads rapidly by air, the online newspaper reported. VnExpress.
After successfully containing the coronavirus for most of last year, Vietnam is now grappling with an epidemic that is spreading faster.
Nearly 3,600 people have been infected in 31 of its 63 cities and provinces since the end of April, representing more than half of the country’s total infections.
“After performing gene sequencing on newly detected patients, we discovered a new variant which is a mixture of Indian and British variants,” said Nguyen Thanh Long.
“Specifically, this is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the British variant,” he said. VnExpress quoted Long as saying that Vietnam will announce the newly discovered variant to the world soon.
Vietnam had previously reported seven viral variants: B.1.222, B.1.619, D614G, B.1.1.7 (the UK variant), B.1.351, A.23.1 and B.1.617.2 (the Indian variant).
Laboratory cultures of the new variant, which is much more transmissible than previously known types, revealed that the virus replicated very quickly, explaining why so many new cases have appeared in different places over a short period of time, said Long.
The Southeast Asian country has so far recorded 6,396 cases of the coronavirus, with 47 deaths.
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