MOSCOW – Mutations in the coronavirus are appearing in Siberia, the head of Russia’s consumer health watchdog said on Tuesday, as the country reported a record daily high of 442 deaths from COVID-19.
“We see certain changes…in Siberia which allow us to assume that in this region it is forming its own version with specific mutations,” Anna Popova, head of Rospotrebnadzor, was quoted as saying by news agencies.
Popova did not give details on how contagious or deadly the mutation was considered to be but said it would not make the virus more dangerous.
Post-registration trials of Russia’s second COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Siberia’s Vector Institute, were now underway, Popova confirmed. Authorities said last week they were due to begin last Sunday.
Mutations of the coronavirus could not influence the vaccine’s effectiveness, the Vector Institute’s director general, Rinat Maksyutov, was quoted as saying by TASS.
A US study in September found little evidence that mutations in the virus have