New rare coronavirus variant found in Naples

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A new and rare variant of the COVID-19 virus has been found in Naples, the regional government said.

It is the first time in Italy that this variant has been detected.

The strain was identified by the Federico II University and the Pascale Institute.

“For the moment we do not know the variant’s power of infection nor its other characteristics, as is the case for other rare variants,” the regional government said in a statement.

It said it was called B.1.525 and so far only 32 cases have been found in the UK, and a few others in Nigeria, Denmark and the USA.

“It has never been seen before in Italy”.

The proliferation of new virus strains, and the growing predominance of the deadlier and more contagious British variant, has spurred some health officials to call for a fresh four-week lockdown in Italy, sparking the ire of politicians who say Italy has endured enough restrictions and people are suffering too many economic consequences.

Main Photo: An operator at work with test tubes and tests for Covid19 in the laboratory of the clinical biochemistry and microbiology department of the Colli Hospital in Naples, Italy. EPA-EFE/CIRO FUSCO

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