British coronavirus variant gaining ground in Greece

British coronavirus variant gaining ground in Greece

The variant of the novel coronavirus first detected in the United Kingdom in November appears to be gaining ground in Greece and is becoming the most prominent of the main new strains of the virus that have emerged in recent months.

According to the Genomic Surveillance Network, of 940 samples collected between January 22 and March 1 in different parts of the country that have seen a spike in transmission, 702 were found to be so-called variants of concern.

Of those, 677 were identified as Lineage B.1.1.7, or the British variant, and 21 as B.1.351, or the South African variant.

Both are believed to be much more transmissible than the prevalent strain of SARS-CoV-2 and are thought to be partly responsible for the steady increase in new infections despite lockdown measures.

Since the start of the program for monitoring variants of concern, Greek experts have identified 1,667 positive samples of the British strain and 48 of the South African one.

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