Poland to check for presence of mutant virus next year

"Next year we will start research on the presence of a mutation of the (corona) virus in Poland, although it is not a mutation that causes more serious illness," said Wojciech Andrusiewicz. Leszek Szymański/PAP

Health authorities will start searching for a mutant variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus next year, a health ministry spokesman announced on Wednesday.

Sharp increases in infection rates in the UK and South Africa have been attributed to new variants of the Covid virus. Although not regarded as more dangerous, the mutant forms could be more infectious.

"Next year we will start research on the presence of a mutation of the (corona) virus in Poland, although it is not a mutation that causes more serious illness," said Wojciech Andrusiewicz, adding that the research would involve the sequencing of random virus samples aimed at detecting the new strain.

"We're not deceiving ourselves," he continued. "Our neighbours have already detected that mutation. We live in a globalised world, so for sure - if that mutation has not yet reached Poland - it will reach us at some point."

The spokesman drew attention to the fact that the mutant strain does not cause more serious illness, but admitted that "it may be more infectious."

"Some scientists say that it is more infectious and others researching that virus say that they are not dealing with greater virulence, infectiousness," he said.