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Two more new SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in Vietnam

Malie Nguyen Malie Nguyen

Dieuhuong270198@gmail.com

May 20, 2021 | 10:46

Vietnam has recently detected two more new SARS-CoV-2 strains B.1.222 and B.1.619 on imported cases, raising the total variants found in the country to seven.

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Two more new SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in Vietnam
Samples are taken for the new coronavirus testing in Hanoi, May 3, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

B.1.222 variant was discovered after the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases conducted gene sequencing of sample from a Covid-infected Ukrainian expert who was put under quarantine upon entering Vietnam, Nhan Dan Newspaper reported.

Head of Department of Microbiology - Molecular Biology under the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases Van Dinh Trang said B.1.222 variant has been detected in 11 countries, mainly in Scotland, the UK. This strain has many mutations on spike protein which is different from the Indian strain B.1.617.2.

Meanwhile, B.1.619 strain has spike protein similar to Indian strain B.1.617.2. Nevertheless, it does not carry mutations at the amino acid position 681 (P681R) on the spike protein like the Indian strain B.1.617.2. B.1.619 strain has been found in many countries and possibly originates from Cameroon in Africa and spread to Europe.

Two more new SARS-CoV-2 variants detected in Vietnam
A medical staff tests samples for Covid-19 in Hanoi, March 31, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

B.1.619 strain was discovered after the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases carried out gene sequencing of sample from Covid-infected Indian experts who were put under quarantine upon entering Vietnam.

Dr. Trang added that a Covid-19 case, an employee of a hotel in Yen Bai Province where Indian experts were quarantined, contracted SARS-CoV-2 with B.1.617.2 variant.

B.1.222 and B.1.619 strains haven’t been found in 200 samples that have been sequenced to date, Dr. Trang said.

B.1.617.2 variant is one of three subtypes of B.1.617 and contains two important mutations on the spike protein, namely L452R and P681R. B.1.617.2 strain is identified to trigger the current wave of community transmission in Vietnam. The World Health Organization on May 11 classified B.1.617 as a variant of concern.

Earlier, Vietnam reported five coronavirus strains including the Indian B.1.617.2 strain, the British B.1.1.7 strain, strain B .1.351 from South Africa, strain D614G from Europe, and the original SARS-CoV-2 strain from Wuhan.

The number of domestic Covid-19 infections in Vietnam has risen to 3,247, with 30 patients confirmed in the past 12 hours to 6 a.m. on May 20, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of them, 13 were recorded in Bac Giang province, eight in Bac Ninh, one in Lang Son, two in Ninh Binh, one in Thanh Hoa, and five in Hai Duong.

The country has logged 1,473 imported infections so far. As many as 1,677 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in the nation since it was hit by the fourth Covid-19 wave on April 27.

A total of 121,010 people who came in close contact with Covid-19 patients or arrived from pandemic-hit areas are being quarantined nationwide, including 2,217 in hospitals, 32,348 in other quarantine sites, and 86,445 at their residences.

Among active Covid-19 patients undergoing treatment, 37 have tested negative for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 once, 29 twice, and 23 thrice.

Vietnam has seen 2,687 recoveries, while the death toll related to the disease is 37.

Since the pandemic has become more complicated, people are advised to strictly follow the Ministry of Health’s 5K message: khau trang (facemask), khu khuan (disinfection), khoang cach (distance), khong tu tap (no gathering), and khai bao y te (health declaration)./.

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Malie Nguyen