A NEW Covid strain has been found in Finland that doesn’t show up in tests and could be fuelling its spread, experts have said.
According to new research, the Fin-796H variant is different from all of the previously found strains in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
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A woman being vaccinated in FinlandCredit: Rex Features
“Mutations in this variant make it difficult to detect in at least one of the WHO-recommended PCR tests,” said the lab.
“This discovery could have a significant impact on determining the spread of the disease.”
Referring to the South African and UK strains, the lab said the new strain’s “inheritance has the same features as the previously widespread variants in the world, but it does not appear to belong to the lineage of any of the previously known variants”.
It come as new Covid variant has been detected in the UK with 38 confirmed cases identified, health bosses said today.
Thirty-six cases of the new variant, dubbed B.1.525, are spread across England, with an additional two cases in Wales.
Experts in the UK have said that the South African variant may also be capable of evading testing.
It makes it much harder to track how many cases of the strain there truly are, scientists say, but not impossible.
The only way to grasp how many people have been infected with the South African strain is to use genetic sequencing.
Ilkka Julkunen, Professor of Virology at the University of Turku, told Yle the emergence of the variant was as yet not a major concern.
“I would not be hugely worried yet, because we do not have clear information that this new strain would be more easily transmitted or that it would affect the immune protection brought about by already having had the virus or having received a vaccination,” he said.
Travellers arriving from Finland are already covered by Covid rules and must quarantine in a hotel for ten days.
Elderly people queuing to get their jabs in HelsinkiCredit: Lehtikuva
The new strain was discovered by Vita LaboratoriesCredit: Facebook
There has been concern that new variants of Covid may make vaccines less effective.
A study in the United States suggests the strain may make the jab two thirds less effective.
In the UK official reports revealed a new a Covid strain has acquired a mutation similar to the South African variant – and could resist vaccines.
Public Health England detected 11 cases in Bristol where the Kent variant has mutated to “escape” immune response.
Laboratory studies have shown that antibodies are less able to bind to a part of the virus known as the spike protein, in order to stop it from unlocking human cells to gain entry.
Boris Johnson revealed the variant was found to be 70 per cent more contagious than the original strain.
But there is no evidence to suggest it is more deadly and until now, it was understood that the current vaccines could still offer protection.