The more contagious Indian variant of the coronavirus has not only claimed a life in a nursing home in Belgium, but is also spreading elsewhere in the country. The mutant is probably more widespread than expected, says Belgian virologist Johan Neyts.
The new variant, which is prevalent in India, is more contagious and possibly less sensitive to the coronavirus vaccines that are in circulation. The mutant showed up in a nursing home in Borsbeek near Antwerp in the last few days, while all residents there had already been vaccinated. One of the residents succumbed.
On Sunday evening, samples revealed another nineteen cases of the Indian variant, says Neyts on the Belgian news channel Radio 1.
“We can link half of that to travel to India, the other half not. That means that the variant is circulating”, although ” probably not so much.”
Because Belgium cannot systematically determine which variant a person is infected with, this is done on a random basis.
“Of all samples that test positive, 5 to 10 percent are tested for variants. So these 19 cases were picked up from these samples”, Neyts says.