There is nothing to indicate that there is a mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus of Greek origin, according to infectious disease expert Gkikas Magiorkinis and National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Rector Thanos Dimopoulos, both of whom are professors at the NKUA School of Medicine.
In the case of the variant B.1.1.318, which is the second most frequent variant detected in Greece in recent months, the two professors said it was first reported in Nigeria, but has already been detected in many other countries on the GISAID platform, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Austrian, Germany, Sweden, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Slovenia, United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Bangladesh, Argentina, Gambia, Gambon and Turkey.
Consequently, there is no indication that the specific strain is of Greek origin or in any way peculiar to Greece, while there is no clear evidence indicating that it is more transmissible, dangerous or less susceptible to vaccines and it’s not on the list of variants of concern.
The naming of novel coronavirus variants is a complex process, given that the creation of mutations is extremely frequent in RNA viruses, even those with correction mechanism like SARS-CoV-2, they explained.
When this process of mutation leads to a strain that spreads in the population and is sufficiently different, either through chance or because it has some advantage, this creates a new lineage that is named as a variant and which in the past was named after the location where it was first detected.
This method has now been abandoned in favour of a method that uses a combination of letters and numbers that indicate a strain’s evolutionary history, they added.