Russia registered some isolated cases of the AY.4.2 COVID-19 variant, a subtype of the Delta strain, Kamil Khafizov, Head of the Scientific Group for the Development of New Diagnostic Methods of the Russian Central Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology, said, APA reports citing TASS.
The AY.4.2 COVID-19 variant was discovered in the UK. According to British scientists, it is one of the 45 subspecies of Delta. Director of the Genetics Institute at University College London Francois Balloux suggested that the new variant could spread 10-15% faster than the previous ones.
"Yes, some isolated cases of the AY.4.2 COVID-19 variant are already being recorded in Russia <…>. [It is] one of the many subtypes of the Delta variant, which probably has a number of advantages over the original and other versions of the pathogen," the expert said.
The Russian expert noted that the emergence of a new variant was likely to aggravate the epidemiological situation in the country. "The Delta variant has already caused a serious increase in the incidence, and AY.4.2 is likely to give another impetus to the surge in the COVID-19 cases," Khafizov warned.
The specialist explained that AY.4.2 "would perhaps steadily supplant Delta, however, it was unlikely to happen soon <…>." "This is potentially just a slightly more infectious variant," he pointed out.
At the same time, Khafizov emphasized that the Russian vaccines were effective against the AY.4.2 variant.