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Spread of coronavirus Gamma strain in Russia unlikely, head of Vector Center says

Rinat Maksyutov stressed that the Gamma variant was encountered today only in one Russian region and had not spread further

SERPUKHOV /Moscow region/, July 30. /TASS/. The spread of the coronavirus Gamma strain on Russian territory is not likely due to the prevalence of the Delta strain. To date, the Gamma strain has been recorded in only one Russian region, General Director of the Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology Rinat Maksyutov told journalists on Friday.

"The Brazilian variant of the coronavirus was obtained, it is currently undergoing research. The Gamma variant is encountered today only in one Russian region, it hasn’t spread further," he said, specifying that currently in Russia this strain has been detected only in Yakutia.

The scientist also explained that the spread of the Gamma strain in Russia is not likely since it is being displaced by the Delta strain. "The spread of the Gamma strain is unlikely because the Delta variant which in the vast majority of regions has overtaken all varieties of the coronavirus in Russia today won’t allow this to happen," he said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned by the continued worldwide spread of all four strains characterized as VOCs ("variants of concern"). The Alpha variant detected for the first time in the UK in September 2020 as of July 20, was present in 180 countries (two more than the week before). The coronavirus variant officially labeled Delta was first detected in India last October. The Beta variant detected last August in South Africa is now present in 130 countries (seven more than last week), and the Gamma strain detected in Brazil in September over seven days has expanded from 75 to 78 countries.