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New research reveals a new variant of coronavirus is now affecting Europe. Scientists from Switzerland and Spain released reports that 20A.EU1 was first seen in Spain. The study also mentioned that the new variant was present in above 40% of the population.
20A.EU1 values were insignificant before July 15 in Ireland, Switzerland, and the U.K. until it quickly jumped from 40% to 70% in September. The new virus has been reported in other countries like France, Latvia, Norway, and the Netherlands.
The study has not been peer-reviewed, but scientists closely monitor this latest genetic mutation. Despite the latest spike in Europe’s coronavirus cases, there is no evidence that this newest mutation can spread faster than previous versions.
Also, no data will assess how severe 20A.EU1 is, including why it is the dominant strain in some countries. This mutation has not taken over other countries, while diverse coronavirus varieties are currently circulating in the region.
What caused the new variant to dominate in some EU countries?
The new study also considered the possible cause of 20A.EU1 could be people coming home from vacations from Spain. There are also speculations that the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in Europe could have been prevented if only stricter travel bans and better screening were enforced in borders and airports.
The authors of the study are still unsure if 20A.EU1 is spreading due to “transmission advantage” or vacation activity in Spain alone is enough to have caused the spike.
At present, some EU countries are imposing new lockdown measures. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has recently announced that the country would be placed on light lockdown. It means business establishments like bars, theaters, gyms, and restaurants will close starting next week.
France President Emmanuel Macron also announced a Nationwide lockdown starting Friday. According to the president, this second lockdown will only permit manufacturing plants and schools to stay open.
The latest coronavirus count in Europe has around 10 million cases. According to the WHO, more than 270,000 have died because of Covid-19 in Europe.
New lockdown measures are expected to be enforced in many countries in Europe as cases reach record highs. There is still no vaccine or medication for the coronavirus.
The study collaborates with scientists from the University of Basel, University of Valencia, the Biomedicine Institute of Valencia, and other experts.