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The world has thousands of Covid-19 strains, but 99% of all Russian cases come from just two, says health watchdog

The world has thousands of Covid-19 strains, but 99% of all Russian cases come from just two, says health watchdog
Today, there are several thousand coronavirus mutations globally, but only 22 are stable, according to Russia's health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor. In Russia, 99% of all infected samples come from just two of the mutations.

The 22 were all first detected around January-March 2020, and since then, other mutations haven't managed to become widespread.

"The total number of mutations identified in the sequenced genomes of SARS-CoV-2 is many thousands," the Rospotrebnadzor statement reads. "However, only a few of them are fixed and consistently inherited."

According to the watchdog, 93% of the studied samples come from just 2 of the 22 mutations, with that number rising to 99% in Russia. These variants were first detected in late January in China and then Australia. By the end of February, they were discovered in most of Western Europe, the US, Canada, and many other countries. After comparing Russian and foreign Covid-19 genomes, Rospotrebnadzor has come to the conclusion that the virus was mass imported from Western Europe in March and April.

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Russia has officially recorded 1,091,186 cases of Covid-19, with 19,195 confirmed deaths. While the country has the fourth most cases in the world, behind the US (6,677,516), India (5,214,677), and Brazil (4,455,386), Russia has a significantly lower official death toll, behind the likes of France and Spain.

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