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Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Health Insurance Mykhailo Radutsky has said the country's healthcare system lacks capacities to identify new COVID-19 variants.

In late January, the Public Health Center submitted a number of samples to a World Health Organization lab in Germany and is now awaiting response, the MP wrote on Facebook.

Radutsky noted while Ukraine is waiting for test results to come back from Germany, the country remains in the so-called "gray zone."

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It is important, he added, to be aware of whether new COVID-19 variants have made their way into Ukraine to foresee the effectiveness of vaccination.

"At the same time, the situation with the spread of the British and South African variants is extremely tense. It is especially worrisome that the vaccine efficacy on patients who have contracted virus variants is lower than for those suffering from more traditional strains," the official said.

Radutsky has added that the issue of setting up a more modern laboratory in Ukraine is becoming more acute.

Read alsoPfizer files paperwork to register COVID-19 vaccine in Ukraine"International partners have confirmed Ukraine will receive equipment and reagents for the laboratory in the framework of cooperation between the Public Health Center and the U.S. CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)," he added.

COVID-19 variants: Background

A new virus strain was detected in South Africa in mid-December.

At the same time, another threatening variant of the coronavirus was revealed in the UK. This strain is said to be nearly 50% more infectious than the previously known SARS-CoV-2 variants. The mutation allows the coronavirus to penetrate healthy cells more easily and firmly hold therein.