Gamma Variant in Russia: Amidst a spike in infections and deaths, the Gamma variant of coronavirus has been detected in small numbers in Russia. The variant was earlier found in Brazil. On Thursday, the country reported a surge in the cases when the total stood at 24,471 new COVID-19 cases and 796 deaths related to novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours.
According to the Interfax news agency, the developer behind Russia’s EpiVacCorona vaccine, Russia has witnessed a massive surge in the COVID-19 cases, attributed to the spread of the Delta variant or B.1.617.2. The researchers also believe that the slow rate of vaccinations could be one of the causes of the spike in infections. But along with the spread of the Delta variant, the Russian Federation also isolated cases of the Gamma variant (P.1) have also been detected in the country, Interfax cited the institute as saying. EpiVacCorona, the second of four vaccines to be registered in Russia, was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia.
The institute noted that the Delta and Gamma variants were categorised as causing concern because they make copies of themselves to spread, transfer more easily and can reduce the effectiveness of antibodies.
According to a report by BBC, there are thousands of different variants of COVID-19 circulating across the world. One of them, called Gamma, first identified in Brazil, appears to have been spread to more than 10 other countries, including the UK. The Brazil variant was reported to be more than twice as transmissible as the original, according to figures analysed by researchers in Brazil. It has mutations on the spike protein, part of the virus which attaches to human cells.
Earlier this year, the P.1, or Gamma, variant became a cause for concern because it was reported to be much more contagious than the original strain. Preliminary data suggested it could be up to twice as infectious as the original strain, while¬†more research puts that figure even higher, at 2.5 times as transmissible.