A new COVID-19 variant made up of the strains first found in the UK and India has been discovered in Vietnam, its health ministry has announced.
It comes as the country grapples with a spike in infections after largely controlling the virus over the past year.
The announcement about the variant was made by health minister Nguyen Thanh Long, who described it as “dangerous”.
Vietnam had previously detected seven virus variants – B.1.222, B.1.619, D614G, B.1.1.7 – known as the UK variant, B.1.351, A.23.1 and B.1.617.2 – the Indian variant.
VnExpress, an online news site in Vietnam, quoted Mr Long as saying a name would be given to the new variant soon, as well as more detailed information about it.
Mr Long was also quoted as saying that lab results showed it to be more transmissible, and that it replicated very quickly.
He reportedly blamed the new variant for the quick spike in cases in the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far identified four COVID-19 variants of concern – those which originated in the UK, India, Brazil and South Africa.
It has not responded to the claims about a new variant in Vietnam.
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