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What do we know about the Swiss coronavirus mutation?

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected] • 26 Apr, 2021 Updated Mon 26 Apr 2021 10:02 CEST
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A laboratory tests for coronavirus in Germany. Photo: Christof STACHE / AFP

Not wanting to be left out, Switzerland now has its own coronavirus mutation. Here’s what you need to know.

English, South African, Brazilian, Indian… now there is also a Swiss Covid variant.

This is the first time that an independent Swiss coronavirus variant has been detected. 

While little is known about the variant at this stage, it is believed to be more contagious than typically known variants. 

When was the variant discovered? 

Italian researchers announced on Saturday that the ‘highly contagious’ variant had been detected. 

It was reportedly detected in a 57-year-old man who lives near Turin in Italy. 

Why is it a ‘Swiss’ variant? 

The mutation was identified as “Swiss” because it is most frequently detected in Switzerland, according to Andrea Sottile, General Director of Turin’s Istituto di Candiolo, reports Italian newspaper La Stampa. 

This means that as with other variants, while it cannot be conclusively proven that the mutation took place in Switzerland, it has been given the name due to the frequency with which it has been detected in Switzerland. 

According to Swiss tabloid Blick, the variant has been detected 1,132 times in Switzerland - more than anywhere else in the world. 

The variant has however also been detected in dozens of countries, including Germany, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the United States and Australia. 

How worried should I be?

Although the variant is more infectious than the initial strains of the virus that have been detected, researchers are quick to point out that it is roughly similar in terms of contagiousness to other newer variants. 

Most importantly, it appears that vaccines are effective against it. 

“Like the English mutation, the Swiss version is highly contagious”, the Italian researchers said.

But Swiss infection specialist Christian Garzoni noted that the Swiss variant “is one of many. It is probably no more dangerous than the English variant and responds to the vaccine”.



The Local/AFP 2021/04/26 10:02

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