- BBC News World
A new variant of covid-19 that appears to be a combination of the variants first identified in India and the United Kingdom was recently detected in Vietnam, according to the country’s authorities.
This “new Indian variant with mutations originally belonging to the UK variant is very dangerous“Vietnam Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said at a government meeting on Saturday, as quoted by the Reuters news agency.
Viruses mutate all the time and most variants do not present significant problems, but in some cases, as with the aforementioned variants, these mutations make them more contagious.
Long claimed that the new hybrid variant is indeed more transmittable than previous versions, especially through the air.
This, he said, could explain why so many new cases have appeared in different parts of the country in a short period of time.
Statistics show a marked increase in cases in recent weeks: of the nearly 6,700 cases registered since the beginning of the pandemic, more than half were registered as of April of this year.
The minister explained that the variant was discovered after testing patients recently diagnosed with the virus, according to the online newspaper VnExpress.
Long added that they will reveal the genetic code for the new variant shortly.
According to experts, the Indian variant of covid-19 (called B.1.617.2) identified in October last year is more transmissible than the Kent / UK variant (B.1.1.7).
Vaccines such as Pdo la Astrazenca have been shown to be very effective against the Indian variant after two doses, but the protection they offer after just one inoculation is low.
As of yet, there is no evidence that any coronavirus mutation leads to more severe cases of the disease for most people.
As with the original version of the virus, the risk remains high for older people or those with serious pre-existing health problems.
But although the level of danger is the same, the fact of being more contagious is in itself a factor that will generate a greater number of deaths in a population that is not vaccinated.
Although at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Vietnam was one of the countries that acted quickly and decisively by closing its borders, isolating and testing its population to stop contagion, the vaccination campaign against covid-19 is progressing slowly .
So far little more than 1% of the population have received at least one of the two doses of the vaccine.
In recent days, the authorities began a massive test on risk groups in Ho Chi Minh City and introduced new social distancing measures to stop the increase in cases that, in that city, were linked to a Christian mission.
They also decided to close restaurants and bars and interrupt religious events for the next 15 days.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, there have been 47 deaths linked to the coronavirus in Vietnam.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.