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No more than 1% of COVID-19 genome mutated since beginning of pandemic, expert says

According to the researcher, to date only 1.3% of the Russian population have contracted the coronavirus infection

MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. Since the beginning of the pandemic mutations affected no more than 1% of the novel coronavirus genome, Deputy Director of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing Alexander Gorelov said on Wednesday.

"Yes, we are experiencing a stage of growth, with the highest number of infections registered among people aged 18 to 40, fortunately, there is no aggravation of the course of the infection. <...> The mutation is setting in but actually no more than 1% of the genome has mutated to date," he said at a TASS online roundtable dedicated to the operations of regional healthcare systems during the pandemic.

He also noted that to date only 1.3% of the Russian population have contracted the coronavirus infection; worldwide this indicator is less than 1%. "This is why it is impossible to talk about any halt in the epidemic process. It may actually stop only following mass inoculation against the coronavirus," the expert explained.

According to the expert, the epidemic process will stop when 30% of Russians develop antibodies to the virus. The infection will become seasonal when 60-70% of the population develop immunity.

Additionally he noted that the number of asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus infection in Russia is not decreasing. It is precisely these cases that make up the "main share" of the infections and continue to be a source of the infection, the expert added.