A new coronavirus variant has been found in Brittany of France. The French Health Ministry in a statement said that the new coronavirus variant has been found in a cluster of cases in a hospital centre in the regional town of Lannion. Several cases among them had not been detected by PCR tests.
The statement further described that the initial analysis did not show the variant to be more serious and transmissible than others. According to the officials, researchers at the Institute Pasteur were investigating whether the genetic modification led to a new variant being more difficult to detect. Presently, there are three variants that are considered alarming, the British, South African and Brazilian variants.
“The first analyzes of this new variant do not allow to conclude either an increased severity or transmissibility compared to the historical virus. In-depth investigations are underway to better understand this variant and its impact,” the ministry said in a statement.
New virus variants spark fears
France President Emmanuel Macron on Monday had warned about tough new measures that may be needed to control the spread of a new wave of coronavirus. He said that new decisions would be taken to control the further spread of virus, reported the Guardian. He has asked his government to work quickly so that new restrictions are laid down in the country. The warnings came as Macron announced France would join the countries that have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after fears over its side effects.
Meanwhile, Scientists in China have found a new virus, which they say is similar to SARS-CoV-2 that causes the COVID-19 disease. According to Express, the new virus that Chinese virologists have discovered has been detected in a bat species and is reportedly about 94 per cent identical to COVID-19. The virus named RpYN06 was discovered by a team of researchers from Shandong First Medical University and Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences in Tainan.
A new variant identified in the UK has been designated a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) by Public Health England. VUI-202103/01 was designated a VUI on March 4 after 2 cases were found in the South East of England in individuals who had recently travelled to Antigua. Despite the travel history of these cases, there is no scientific evidence to determine where this variant first emerged. The UK reported a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC), lineage B.1.1.7, last year in December 2020 after cases were detected in England and parts of London. The strain quickly became dominant, spreading in over 30 countries abroad, including the US.