Researchers at a Liège University lab have baptised the variant B.1.214 of Spike Insertion. 4% of Belgian infections are now believed to be due to this variant – more or less the same number as the Brazilian and South African variants.
The new variant was first recorded in January. Prof Vincent Bours, an expert in genetics, says that variant struck scientists’ attention because it is the result of a mutation that has never been seen here before.
The new variant is no more dangerous than existing variants. “The variant is gaining ground in Belgium” says Prof Bours “especially around Brussels, in Flemish Brabant and Hainault.”
“The variant’s ancestry still needs to be established, but it may have originated in sub-Saharan Africa and may have arrived here as a result of travel.”