Daily US Times: Vietnam has detected a hybrid Covid variant that appears to be a combination of the UK and Indian variants and can spread quickly by air, officials say.
Nguyen Thanh Long, Vietnam’s Health Minister, described the latest mutation on Saturday as “very dangerous”.
Viruses mutate all the time and most variants of a virus are inconsequential, but some can make a virus more contagious.
Since the latest coronavirus was first identified in January 2020, thousands of mutations have been detected.
During a government meting, Mr Nguyen told: “Vietnam has uncovered a new Covid-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK.”
Mr Nguyen said the new hybrid Covid variant was more transmissible than previously known versions, especially in the air.
According to online newspaper VnExpress, he said it was discovered after running tests on newly-detected patients.
He added that the genetic code of the Covid-19 virus would be made available soon.
In October last year, the variant of Covid-19 first identified in India – called B.1.617.2 – is more transmissible than the UK/Kent variant – also known as B.1.1.7 – according to experts.
Research suggests that vaccines, such as the AstraZeneca and Pfizer jabs, are highly effective against the Indian variant after two doses, but protection from one dose appears to be reduced.
There is no evidence that any mutations of the coronavirus cause much more serious illness for the vast majority of people.