Russian scientists find new strain of South African COVID-19 variant

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Moscow [Russia], March 24 (ANI/Sputnik): Scientists at the Russian Vector laboratory have found a new isolate of the South African COVID-19 variant, the press office for the Russian consumer watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said on Wednesday.

"The scientists of the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Vector of Rospotrebnadzor found a new isolate of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that belongs to the B.1.351 lineage first identified in South Africa. The pan genomic sequencing has shown that there are two extra deletions in ORF1ab and S genes along with mutations specific to the South African variant," the statement said.

According to the statement, the virus isolate has been deposited to the state virus collection. Research on whether the newly found strain can be neutralized by antibodies developed after COVID-19 contraction or inoculation with Russian vaccines is underway.

On March 16, Rospotrebnadzor reported the detection of the South African COVID-19 variant in Russia. According to the Johannesburg national infections centre, these mutations make the virus more sustainable to antibodies in the blood of those who were cured of the disease. (ANI/Sputnik)