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Research says coronavirus variants are spreading in Europe



A waiter sweeps the streets of the tapas bar area near Elvira Street in Granada, Spain on October 24, 2020.

Carlos Gil Andreu | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A new study revealed that a variant of the coronavirus believed to have originated in Spain has spread in Europe and now accounts for the majority of new cases reported in several countries in the region.

The study is scheduled to be released on Thursday and has not yet been peer reviewed. The study detailed how an international team of scientists closely monitored the coronavirus through its genetic mutations.

Each variant of the coronavirus has its own genetic characteristics, which means it can be traced back to where it first appeared.

It said that a new variant of the disease, identified as 20A.EU1

by researchers in Switzerland and Spain, was first discovered in Spain in June. According to the study, since July, this new variant has been recorded more than 40% frequently in Spain.

Elsewhere, new variants of the coronavirus have increased from “extremely low” values ​​before July 15 to 40% to 70% in Switzerland, Ireland and the United Kingdom in September. It was also found to be prevalent in Norway, Latvia, the Netherlands and France.

The researchers of the study said that although the frequency has increased in several countries, they have no direct evidence that new variants of the virus spread faster than other variants.

It also said that there are currently no data to assess the severity of the disease, and although 20A.EU1 is dominant in some countries, it has not taken over anywhere and that various variants of the coronavirus “continue to spread in Europe” .

The authors of the study included researchers from the University of Basel, the Institute of Biomedical Research of Valencia and the University of Valencia.

what does this mean?

The results of the study indicate that people returning from vacations in Spain may have played a role in spreading the new virus throughout Europe.

This also raises the question of whether stricter travel measures and improved inspections at airports and other transportation hubs can be used to limit the recent increase in the number of newly reported Covid-19 infections in the region.

The study said: “It is not clear whether this variant is spreading due to the spreading advantages of the virus, or whether the high incidence in Spain and then spread through tourists is sufficient to explain the rapid growth in many countries.”

A wave of new coronavirus cases in Europe has prompted some countries to adopt new lockdown measures as winter approaches.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a “light ban” on Wednesday and bars, restaurants, stadiums, cinemas and theaters will be closed from next week.

French President Emmanuel Macron took a similar action, confirming that for the second nationwide lockdown from Friday, only schools and factories remain open-the opposite of what they closed in March.

According to data from the World Health Organization, Europe has recorded nearly 10 million coronavirus cases, causing 273,678 related deaths.


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