Greece has detected four cases of the new coronavirus variant in people who recently traveled from Britain.
Since its discovery in the UK in November, the fast-spreading coronavirus mutation has been diagnosed in dozens of countries across the globe.
A total of 12 cases of the mutation were found in Cyprus, after the country conducted further tests of samples taken from those who had landed there from the UK and tested positive for Covid-19.
It is currently unclear whether the new variant leads to more severe cases of the virus or not, but scientists have determined that the mutation spreads much faster than the non-variant coronavirus.
The World Health Organization released a statement saying that the new variant was responsible for over half of new cases in the UK, and is most prevalent among young people.
Although more testing is required, most scientists are convinced that the widely-effective Covid vaccines will protect those inoculated from variants such as this one.
When a person is infected with a virus, the virus makes copies of itself inside their body. Mutations begin to form as enzymes, responsible for copying the RNA of the virus, are prone to making mistakes in the multiplication process. Often, these mistakes are marginal.
If the host of these viruses with mistakes in its RNA spread the illness, it become a variant or mutation. Commonly, these mutations have little difference from the standard virus, or can even be less contagious.
Until the discovery of the UK variant, scientists were surprised that more variants of Covid-19 were not identified throughout the pandemic.
Further research showed that this lack of Covid mutations is due to the fact that there is an enzyme present in the virus that goes back to “fix” the mistakes made by the other enzyme responsible for copying the virus’ RNA.