The new strain of the coronavirus B.1.1.7, spreading from the south of the UK, has been confirmed in Slovakia.
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The strain appeared in samples in the eastern district of Michalovce, Health Minister Marek Krajčí wrote on his Facebook page on January 4.
Intervention teams of the ministry in cooperation with the Zdravé Regióny (Healthy Regions) programme offered samples to the Biomedicine Centre of the Slovak Academy of Sciences for sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 virus for a new variant of the coronavirus between holidays.
The team of virologist Boris Klempa, in cooperation with the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Comenius University and the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Informatics of Comenius University, succeeded in identifying the new strain in the first samples from the Michalovce district, the so-called English strain, the minister explained.
The new strain has 70 percent higher capacity to spread, a higher reproduction number of about 0.4 in comparison to the original virus, a potentially higher viral load in patients.
“Its spread is more frequent in people up to 60 years and really intense among children,” said Krajčí. “The clinical symptoms and case fatality rate (number of deaths per infected people) of new variant remain the same compared with the original virus.”
Minister assumed before the Christmas holiday that the new mutation has probably already arrived in Slovakia, taking into consideration numerous group of people travelling between the UK and Slovakia.
Read more about the coronavirus outbreak in Slovakia:
- Statistics of the positive coronavirus cases
- Measures valid since January 1, 2020
- Guide for travelling in the coronavirus pandemic
- Do I have the new coronavirus? How to proceed if you have a suspicion
- I encountered a person who is COVID-19 positive. What do I do next? (FAQ)
- FAQs about vaccination in Slovakia
- How Slovakia prepared for the coronavirus
- Do I have the coronavirus? How to proceed if you have a suspicion