Vietnam detects a new hybrid of two variants COVID | Coronavirus pandemic news


Vietnam’s health minister says the new strain combines variants first identified in the UK and India, and laboratory tests suggest hybrids can spread more easily than other versions of the virus.

Vietnamese authorities have detected a new variant of coronavirus that is a hybrid of strains found in India and the United Kingdom, an official said.

Nguyen Thanh Long, the Vietnamese health minister, told a government meeting on Saturday that scientists found the new variant after examining the genetic makeup of the virus that had infected some recent patients.

“That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the UK variant is very dangerous,” he said.

Laboratory tests suggest the new strain could spread more easily than other versions of the virus, the minister said, adding that Vietnam would soon publish genome data for the newly identified variant.

After successfully containing the virus for most of last year, Vietnam is facing an increase in infections since late April that accounts for more than half of the total of 6,856 cases recorded. So far, there have been 47 deaths.

The Southeast Asian country had previously detected seven virus variants: B.1.222, B.1.619, D614G, B.1.1.7 – the variant first found in the UK, B.1.351, A.23.1 and B .1.617.2 – detected in India.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified four variants of SARS-CoV-2 of global interest. These include variants that were first identified in India, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

“At this time, we have not yet made an assessment of the virus variant reported in Vietnam,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical manager of COVID-19, said in an emailed statement.

“Our country office is working with the Ministry of Health in Vietnam and we look forward to more information soon.”

According to the current WHO understanding, the variant detected in Vietnam was variant B.1.617.2, the variant first identified in India, possibly with an additional mutation, he said.

“However, we will provide more information as soon as we receive it,” Van Kerkhove added.

Long, the Vietnamese Minister of Health, said that the laboratory cultures of the new variant showed that the virus was replicating very quickly, possibly explaining why so many new cases had appeared in different parts of the country in such a short period of time.

The health ministry reported at the meeting that the government was working to secure 10 million doses of vaccine under the COVAX cost-sharing plan, as well as 20 million more doses of Pfizer vaccine and 40 million of Sputnik V. de Russia.

The country of about 98 million people has so far received 2.9 million doses and aims to reach 150 million this year.

Vietnam hopes to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year, according to the health minister.

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