Vietnam has detected a new coronavirus variant that is highly transmissible and has features of two other strains.
“Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the U.K.,” Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said, according to Reuters. “That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the U.K. variant is very dangerous.”
The announcement came on Saturday as the country is dealing with a recent spike of infections that started in May.
Long says the new variant might be responsible for the latest surge, according to the AP.
The new variant is more transmissible in the air and Long says scientists observed the variant’s ability to replicate quickly in lab cultures, according to VnExpress.
Seven other coronavirus variants had been detected in the country prior to Saturday’s announcement. The latest variant does not have a name yet, but the ministry of health plans to publish genome data of it.
Since the pandemic began, Vietnam has reported 6,713 cases and 47 deaths as of Saturday. A little more than half of the cases and 12 of the deaths were reported in the last month, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.