Indonesia has reported a new variant of the coronavirus, known as B.1.621, which is believed to be more transmissible than previous strains.
How the New Variant Was Discovered
The new variant was first detected in Bali when an Indian national tested positive for the virus after arriving in the country in early August. The Indonesian health ministry then conducted genome sequencing and found that the virus had mutated into a new strain.
What Is Known About the New Variant
According to the health ministry, the new strain is a “double mutant” because it has two key mutations in the spike protein that help the virus attach to human cells. These mutations are thought to make the virus more contagious and possibly more resistant to vaccines.
Response to the New Variant
Indonesia has imposed stricter travel restrictions and screening measures in an effort to contain the spread of the new variant. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also been notified, and research is underway to determine how effective current vaccines are against the new strain.
The discovery of this new coronavirus variant in Indonesia highlights the continued evolution of the virus and the importance of continued surveillance and research. It also underscores the need for continued efforts to stop the spread of the virus through vaccination, masking, and other public health measures.