Epidemiologists have found the Indian variant of the novel coronavirus after analyzing samples taken from patients recorded in Hanoi and some other northern localities.
One of the samples was collected from the Vietnamese capital, while two were from Hung Yen Province and five from Thai Binh Province, the Ministry of Health said on Sunday evening.
The result of genome sequencing showed that all eight samples carried the B.1.617.2 strain.
The variant was also found in some samples collected from patients documented in northern Hai Duong Province on Friday.
According to the health ministry, genome sequencing is intended to identify the sources of novel coronavirus variants in Vietnam and facilitate COVID-19 prevention and control efforts in the country.
Experts believed that the B.1.617.2 variant is more transmissible – the characteristic of the UK mutant – and lessen the efficacy of COVID-19 jabs – typical of the South African mutation.
This is why it is also referred to as the ‘double mutant’ variant.
The mutated strain has been taking a toll on India, where hundreds of thousands of cases are announced daily and fatalities are at alarming rates.
It has spread to at least 17 countries so far.
Vietnam first detected the Indian variant on April 30, when genome sequencing showed four Indians and a Vietnamese carried the mutated strain in the northern province of Yen Bai.
Five novel coronavirus variants have been recorded in the Southeast Asian country, including the B.1.617.2 from India, B.1.1.7 from the UK, B.1.351 from South Africa, D614G from Europe, and the original virus from Wuhan, China.
Vietnam has documented 3,444 local and imported COVID-19 cases as of Monday afternoon, with 2,602 recoveries and 35 deaths, according to the ministry’s statistics.
The country has registered 411 domestic cases in 26 provinces and cities since April 27, with Hanoi logging 141 cases.