The newly discovered coronavirus variant may be going undetected and fuelling the spread of Covid-19. Researchers have named the variant from Finland, Fin-796H. It has a different lineage from the variants found in South Africa and the UK.
The discovery was made by Helsinki-based Vita Laboratories who say it is unlikely the variant originally emerged in Finland, given the country’s low rate of coronavirus infection (just over 51,500 since the pandemic began).
In a statement, the lab said: “Mutations in this variant make it difficult to detect in at least one of the WHO-recommended PCR tests.”
Researchers have not yet confirmed if the new strain is more easily transmitted, or if it would affect immunity. Ilkka Julkunen, Professor of Virology at the University of Turku, told local paper Yle that the emergence of the variant was not yet a major concern.
“I would not be hugely worried yet, because we do not have clear information that this new strain would be more easily transmitted or that it would affect the immune protection brought about by already having had the virus or having received a vaccination.”
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