“More strains could emerge as virus prone to mutations”

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ANKARA

The new coronavirus is clearly subject to mutations and the world could see new strains emerge in the future, an infectious disease expert in Turkey warned on Saturday.

“The most important factor increasing the risk of mutations is the spread of the virus. It is currently subject to new mutations, ”said Dr Ismail Balik, head of the department of infectious diseases at Ankara University, in a conversation with the Anadolu agency.

“The more the virus spreads in one place, the higher the likelihood of a single mutation. A mutation specific to Turkey may also emerge; if so, the search should be done accordingly.

He said the strain of virus first detected in the UK – known as B.1.1.7 – was the biggest contributor to the third wave of COVID-19 currently sweeping the world, in especially Europe.

“This variant is what is now pushing the pandemic,” he said.

Citing recent remarks by the Turkish Minister of Health, Balik said the British variant now accounts for 75% of all cases in Turkey.

“It is 40 to 70% more infectious, but is not more deadly than the original virus,” he explained.

The health expert stressed the need to remain cautious, urging people to continue to avoid crowded areas and strictly follow all hygiene and safety measures.

* Written by Merve Aydogan

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