The fast-spreading Covid variant, first found in the UK, has been identified in Cyprus. A total of 12 cases of the mutation have been diagnosed in the island nation.
The cases of the new variant were discovered after Cyprus conducted further tests of samples taken from those who had arrived in the country from the UK and tested positive for Covid-19.
This procedure for locating the spread of the new mutation is recommended by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Out of the 19 people who came to Cyprus from the UK and tested positive for the virus, 12 of them had been infected with the UK mutation.
Since its discovery in the UK in November, the fast-spreading coronavirus mutation has been diagnosed in dozens of countries across the globe.
It is currently unclear whether the new variant is leads to more severe cases of the virus or not, but scientists have determined that the mutation spreads much faster than the non-variant coronavirus.
The World Health Organization released a statement saying that the new variant was responsible for over half of new cases in the UK, and is most prevalent among young people.
Although more testing is required, most scientists are convinced that the widely-effective Covid vaccines will protect those inoculated from variants such as this one.
When a person is infected with a virus, the virus makes copies of itself inside their body. Mutations begin to form as enzymes, responsible for copying the RNA of the virus, are prone to making mistakes in the multiplication process. Often, these mistakes are marginal.
If the host of these viruses with mistakes in its RNA spread the illness, it become a variant or mutation. Commonly, these mutations have little difference from the standard virus, or can even be less contagious.
Until the discovery of the UK variant, scientists were surprised that more variants of Covid-19 were not identified throughout the pandemic.
Further research showed that this lack of Covid mutations is due to the fact that there is an enzyme present in the virus that goes back to “fix” the mistakes made by the other enzyme responsible for copying the virus’ RNA.