A new coronavirus mutation has been detected in southern Germany during an outbreak at a medical clinic where 73 patients and staff tested positive. Three of them were found to have a previously unknown variant of the virus.
The Munchner Merkur newspaper was first to report on the new variant on Monday. At least three people at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Clinic in the south-eastern state of Bavaria were found to have the new type of Covid-19, which has had multiple mutations.
The 70 others who contracted the virus during the clinic outbreak had variants already known to researchers.
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Samples of the new variant have been submitted to the Berlin Charite clinic for further research. The first results from the testing are expected to arrive later this month, Dr. Clemens Stockklausner, the deputy medical director of the Bavarian hospital, told the newspaper.
“That is now in the hands of our colleagues,” Stockklausner stated. “We expect a response with further and meaningful details by the end of January.”
So far, it remains unclear whether the new virus mutation boasts any special features like the variants recently detected in the UK and South Africa, which turned out to be extra-transmittable. Since the beginning of the pandemic, “over 12,000 changes” have been detected in the virus, Frank Niederbuhl the managing director of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Clinic said, and urged the public to not worry about the new discovery too much.
“Scare tactics would be absolutely dubious and inappropriate,” he stated. “Just the fact that it is a new variant does not mean that it is more infectious.”
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Germany remains among the worst coronavirus-hit nations, clocking in over 2 million cases, the latest figures by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) show. More than 46,000 people have succumbed to the disease across the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
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