WHO recommends all countries to increase genetic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses

Geneva [Switzerland]: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends all countries to increase genetic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses whenever possible and report if new strains of the coronavirus that raise concerns are detected, WHO representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic told Sputnik on Tuesday.

The appeal comes after the UK identified over the weekend a mutated coronavirus strain that is 70 per cent more transmissible than other SARS-CoV-2 virus strains. Many countries, including France, Russia and the Netherlands, have since suspended passenger travel to and from the UK in a bid to prevent the import of the new virus strain.

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“The WHO recommends all countries to increase sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses whenever possible and exchange data on sequences at the international level, in particular, to report the discovery of similar mutations causing concerns,” Vujnovic said.

The health organization also advised nations to further comply with all basic health and social measures, including testing and contract tracing, followed by isolation and quarantine, as well as personal protective measures, such as hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing a mask when necessary, the representative added.

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On Monday, Vujnovic said that although the new strain was said to spread more easily, there was no evidence that it had any influence on the mortality rate.

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