Imported coronavirus variant case reported in Shanghai

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (XINHUA, REUTERS) – An imported coronavirus variant case was reported in east China’s Shanghai, the municipal centre for disease control and prevention said on Friday (Jan 1).

The patient is a Chinese national who studied in Britain, flew to Shanghai on Dec 14. and was quarantined immediately. The patient was diagnosed as a confirmed mild Covid-19 case two days later and is receiving treatment at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre.

In recent coronavirus gene sequencing monitoring on cases imported from Britain, the centre detected that the virus of the case was coronavirus variant B.1.1.7. It is similar to the one recently reported in Britain, according to the Shanghai Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The patient is in stable condition. All passengers on the same flight as the patient were quarantined for 14 days, and no abnormality in their health has been reported.

On Friday, a disease control official said there is no sign that the coronavirus variants will affect the immune impact of a vaccine that China has just authorised for public use.

The shot by an affiliate of state-backed company Sinopharm was approved on Thursday, the day after news of China’s first imported case of a variant spreading in Britain.

“No need to panic,” Mr Xu Wenbo, an official at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, told state TV. He added that no impact of variants on the vaccine’s immune effect had been detected.

The variant circulating in Britain includes a genetic mutation in the “spike” protein, which could theoretically result in easier spread of Covid-19.

Mr Xu added that mutation in the virus’ protein would not affect the sensitivity of most Chinese-made Covid-19 tests that target the virus’ nucleic acids, which carry genetic information.

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