New COVID variant detected in Vietnam, might spread more easily than other versions: Lab tests

Vietnam detected a new coronavirus variant with combination of the strains first identified in India and the United Kingdom.

On Saturday, Vietnamese health minister Nguyen Thanh Long said scientists examined the genetic makeup of the virus that had infected some recent patients, and found the new version of the virus.

He also told reporters that lab tests suggested it might spread more easily than other versions of the virus.

According to minister, the new variant could be responsible for a recent surge in Vietnam. Vietnam has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks. The country has registered more than 6,700 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic.

The genetic code of the virus would be made available soon, he added.

The World Health Organization has listed four global “variants of concern” – the two first found in the U.K. and India, plus ones identified in South Africa and Brazil.

Viruses often develop small genetic changes as they reproduce, and new variants of the COVID-19 have been seen almost since it was first detected in China in late 2019.