New coronavirus variant appears in Finland

Researchers at the Vita Laboratories in Helsinki have discovered a new coronavirus variant dubbed Fin-796H, which displayed mutations formerly discovered in the British and South African in a “unique” combination. [Shutterstock/Cryptographer]

Researchers at the Vita Laboratories in Helsinki have discovered a new coronavirus variant dubbed Fin-796H, which displayed mutations formerly discovered in the British and South African in a “unique” combination.

The “newly-discovered variant differs from expectations in that it does not genetically resemble any other known variant,” according to Petri Auvinen, the research director of Helsinki University’s Institute of Biotechnology.

For the moment, the researchers are calling for calm, noting that while such a discovery would have been a matter of time, no evidence currently suggests that the variant could be more transmittable or more resistant to vaccination.

In Finland, the number of coronavirus infections has seen a sharp increase, particularly in the country’s southern parts. While restrictions will remain in place until the end of March in the Helsinki Metropolitan area, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is also recommending the closure of bars and limiting the opening hours of restaurants.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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