A new coronavirus variant that is a combination of the Indian and UK COVID-19 variants and spreads quickly by air has been detected in Vietnam.

“Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK,” a news agency quoted Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long as saying.

“That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the UK variant is very dangerous,” he told a government meeting.

Vietnam had previously detected seven virus variants: B.1.222, B.1.619, D614G, B.1.1.7 – known as the UK variant, B.1.351, A.23.1 and B.1.617.2 – the “Indian variant”.

Long said Vietnam would soon publish genome data of the newly identified variant, which he said was more transmissible than the previously known types.

Medical workers in protective suits stand outside a quarantined building amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hanoi, Vietnam, January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Thanh Hue

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified four variants of SARS-CoV-2 of global concern. These include variants that emerged first in India, Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

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