Greece detects first case of COVID-19 variant prevalent in India

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Greece’s health authorities have confirmed the country’s first case infected with strain B.1.617, a coronavirus variant that was first detected in India.

The National Public Health Organization (NPHO) said in a statement on Friday that the positive sample belongs to a male inhabitant of Patras in western Greece, who developed symptoms from March 16 and was detected in testing by the National Genomic Surveillance Network on March 22.

The epidemiological investigation showed the man had no travel history or contact with any known confirmed case, read the statement.

The man is reported to have mild symptoms “without the need for hospitalization,” and the tracing work has been started.

Strain B.1.617. contains several mutations, including two key mutations – L452R and E484Q. That’s why it is referred to as “double mutant.”

However, the strain detected in Greece “does not carry the E484Q mutation, which is characterized as an escape mutation of the immune system,” said the statement.

There have been 329,134 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 9,864 deaths in Greece as of Saturday evening, according to the tally of the World Health Organization.

India, where the B.1.617. variant is predominant, reported the world’s highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the third day on Saturday with over 340,000 new cases. In areas hard hit by COVID-19, like the state of Maharashtra, over 60 percent of the cases were detected with the B.1.617 variant.

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