FINLAND: Researchers in Southern Finland have discovered a new variant of the COVID-19 virus recently. The variant is tagged as Fin-796H. Interestingly, the variant has shown mutations similar to the ones displayed by the British and South African variants. The combination uncovered in the variant is ‘unique’ and the cause of origination is still unknown to the researchers.
According to Yle, the Helsinki-based Vita laboratories have said that the discovery is noteworthy as it might not come as present in the PCR test for the virus. As per the studies, PCR tests search for the specific genetic material and hence would not work for the “unique” variant.
“The variant was discovered in a patient last week, so details about the infectivity and potential resistance of this strain to vaccines are not yet known,” Taru Meri, a researcher from the Vita laboratories said. She also said that it was unlikely that the variant was found in Finland given the country’s low COVID-19 infection rates.
“The tests’ inability to recognize it, meaning those mutations have occurred in the section on which the PCR test is based, is the most important information about this variant at the moment,” Taru said.
In a statement, Petri Auvinen, Research Director of the University of Helsinki’s Institute of Biotechnology said, “However, the newly-discovered variant differs from expectations in that it does not genetically resemble any other known variant.”
Finland’s COVID-19 update
Finland has so far recorded 52,653 confirmed cases of the virus while 40,000 people have recovered. Furthermore, 725 citizens of the country have died of COVID-19.
Additionally, there have been 450 cases of variants found in Finland. Among these, 422 were the British variant, 22 were identified as the South African variant and one case involved the Brazilian variant of the virus.