British COVID-19 variant reported in Czech Republic

The more contagious mutation of COVID-19 first identified in the UK has now been confirmed in the Czech Republic

ČTK

Written by ČTK Published on 16.01.2021 12:34 (updated on 16.01.2021) Reading time: 1 minute

The Czech Republic faces incidence of the more contagious British mutation of COVID-19, the Czech State Health Institute (SZU) wrote on its website today. It adds that more detailed information will be available next week.

The SZU cited the results of tests performed by the National Reference Laboratory for flu and non-flu respiratory viral diseases.

The number of detected cases is not yet known.

The British COVID-19 mutation is more contagious, by an estimated 50-70%, than the current widespread variant. It is not considered more deadly, and current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective against it.

According to National Reference Laboratory head Helena Jiřincová, the British mutation may influence the sensitivity of test kits which laboratories use in sample sequencing.

"There is a very strong indication that the so-called British mutation is involved in cases where the [test] kits show a change in sensitivity," Jiřincová told Deník N.

This has been just confirmed, she said.

Nevertheless, it is not clear whether the mutation arose in Britain. It may have spread across Europe even before, she added.

Addressed by Deník N, immunologist Zdeněk Hel confirmed the information about the mutation's incidence in the Czech Republic.

"Yes, I can confirm the information," Hel told Deník N.

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"As expected, the British mutation also occurs in the territory of the Czech Republic."

He said it is not clear to what extent the mutation has spread in the Czech Republic.

The so-called British mutation of novel coronavirus was first registered in England in mid-December and has appeared in other countries since. Among the Czech Republic's neighbors, it has been confirmed by Germany and Slovakia, while Austria reports its suspected incidence.

"The British variant is known for faster spreading. It would therefore be even more important to observe the measures aimed to reduce inter-personal contacts and observe the anti-epidemic measures," Health Minister Jan Blatny (for ANO) told Deník N. He would not comment on the reports about the mutation's occurrence in the Czech Republic

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