There are several strains of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus in circulation in Ukraine at the moment; no dangerous variants with mutations have been detected yet.
Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov announced on TV Channel Ukraina 24.
"To analyze mutations of strains, samples need to be sequenced. Unfortunately, we are only creating such laboratories. Meanwhile, we send samples to international laboratories. We've sent 200 samples to Berlin's Charite Clinical Center. We've received results on 48 of them – only European Italian, Spanish strains are in circulation here, we have neither the mutated UK strain nor the one from South Africa. We are waiting for other results," he said.
Stepanov disclosed where Ukraine sends its samples for the study of COVID-19 strains.
"Now we are about to send 350 samples to London. In addition, we have taken samples in Ivano-Frankivsk region and sent them to the Institute of Microbiology – it will take them longer to process as complex, expensive equipment is needed," he said.
New COVID-19 strains
- Mutated variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus were first identified at the end of 2020, when the first vaccines were being developed. In December, two new strains were identified in the UK, one of them was found in patients who came from South Africa.
- In January 2021, a new strain was found in four people who entered Japan from Brazil.
- In February 2021, the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced that it could take from six to nine months to produce and start distributing effective vaccines against mutated strains of the coronavirus.