Hanoi’s National Hospital for Tropical Diseases has discovered two new variants of SARS-CoV-2 after gene sequencing of patient samples.

The two new variants are B.1.222 and B.1.619.

Van Dinh Trang, head of the Microbiology and Molecular Biology Ward under the hospital, told the Suc khoe & Doi song (Health and Life) newspaper that the B.1.222 variant had appeared in 11 countries, but was most common in the UK and particularly Scotland. This strain has many mutations on the spike protein different from the Indian strain B.1.617.2.

Variant B.1.222 was discovered when the hospital’s Covid-19 research team sequenced the SARS-CoV-2 gene from the oropharyngeal specimen of a 29-year-old patient, a Ukrainian expert. The patient was quarantined immediately after entering Vietnam.

Variant B.1.619 has spike protein similar to Indian strain B.1.617.2. Variant B.1.619 appeared in many countries, possibly originating from Cameroon and then spreading to Europe.

This variant was discovered in Vietnam when experts from the hospital conducted genetic sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus specimen of an Indian expert who was quarantined immediately after entering Vietnam.

Trang said patient number 2857, an employee of the hotel where an Indian team of experts quarantined in Yen Bai province was infected with SARS-CoV-2 with the characteristics of the Indian variant B.1.617.2.

These two variants have not been found in nearly 200 gene sequenced hospital samples.

Thus, with these two newly discovered strains, Vietnam has recorded seven strains of SARS-CoV-2.

The five previously discovered strains are D614G from Europe, which caused the outbreak in Danang city, B.1.1.7 from the UK, which caused the outbreak in Hai Duong province, B.1.351 from South Africa in a South African patient quarantined on arrival on December 19, A.23.1 from Rwanda recorded at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, and B.1.617.2, recently discovered from Indian experts.

The National Hospital for Tropical Diseases is the leading Covid-19 treatment facility in Vietnam. At present, 344 patients are being treated there, including 52 patients in serious health conditions.