Tunisian health authorities announced this Saturday, February 20, 2021, that they have detected a new variant of Covid-19 in the country.
“Two people have tested positive for a new variant of Covid-19 in the Tunis governorate,” said Faycel Ben Salah the general director of health at a press conference.
He added that the sequencing and identification operation is continuing according to current WHO recommendations.
The same source said that the preliminary results of the analyses did not reveal any particular danger from the mutant version.
For his part, the director of the Pasteur Institute and member of the scientific committee for the fight against coronavirus, Hechmi Louzir, announced that a case of death caused by this new Covid-19 variant had been recorded in Tunis.
The case involved a man in his seventies who tested negative at first before it was discovered that he was a carrier of a new Covid-19 variant, the same source mentioned in a press statement.
“So far we cannot scientifically prove that the death was related to contamination with the new variant of SARS-Cov-2, he noted, pointing out that the deceased suffered from cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
Hechmi Louzir also added that a team of researchers from the Pasteur Institute conducted a partial genetic analysis of the coronavirus and discovered a new variant of the virus which was taken from the deceased old man that was mentioned earlier in the article.
The official added that the same variant was discovered in a 17-year-old in Oued Ellil, who had no symptoms.
More analysis of the virus is still needed to find out if the new virus is more lethal and infectious than the current South African, Brazilian, and English strains. Also, no info is yet available about whether this new Tunisian Variant will affect the effectiveness of the currently available vaccines.