3 new mutated COVID-19 strains detected in South Korea: Report

3 new mutated COVID-19 strains detected in South Korea: Report

Medical workers in protective gears walk into a hospital facility to treat coronavirus patients ami
File photo of medical workers in protective gear in Daegu, South Korea, Mar 8, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Kyung-hoon)

SEOUL: Three new mutated genome sequences of the novel coronavirus have been detected in South Korea among three imported COVID-19 cases, the country’s public health authorities said on Monday (Aug 10) as reported by Yonhap.

Possible mutations were detected in the virus' "spike protein", which is known to help COVID-19 penetrate into a living human cell, the news outlet reported, adding the imported infections involved two people from Pakistan and one from Uzbekistan.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the new mutations are different from 78,810 viral genome sequences registered in the database from GISAID – a global science initiative and primary source for genomic data of influenza viruses and the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19.

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“The latest findings will not affect the existing polymerase chain reaction tests, but we find it necessary to find out whether they have a different degree of infectivity," KCDC chief Jeong Eun-kyeong said, as reported by Yonhap.

"(Three people) were self-isolated upon entering the country. There were no people who had contact with them in the country," he added.

The finding was based on the KCDC's analysis of sequenced genomes of a total of 776 COVID-19 patients, including 597 local infections and 179 imported cases, reported Yonhap.

The country identified 28 new novel coronavirus cases on Monday, including 17 local infections, raising the total caseload to 14,626, the KCDC said.

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Source: Bernama/CNA/aa(nc)

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