MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS/. The Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology has a sample of a new strain of the coronavirus detected in the UK. It was obtained at the end of 2020 from an infected individual who arrived in Russia, the press service of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing reported on Monday.
"The Vector Institute of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing isolated the ‘British’ strain of the coronavirus from a patient’s material back in December 2020 and continues to study it," the statement reads.
Earlier, top sanitary doctor Anna Popova reported that a case of the infection with the British coronavirus strain was registered in Russia at the end of last year; currently the patient is not contagious anymore.
On December 14, Britain’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said British scientists had identified a new coronavirus strain that might be to blame for high infection rates in southeastern England. According to him, a preliminary analysis indicated that this newly detected virus strain was spreading faster than any of the known strains. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at an emergency news conference on December 19 announced that, according to the current findings, the new strain might be 70% more contagious.
On December 22, Russia temporarily suspended air service with the UK due to the new coronavirus strain detected there.