Gamma coronavirus variant detected in Russia, Ifax reports

FILE PHOTO: A view shows vials containing Russian-made vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during a demonstration at a regional clinical medical and rehabilitation centre in Tver, Russia May 24, 2021. REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Gamma variant of the novel coronavirus, first found in Brazil, has been detected in small quantities in Russia, the Interfax news agency cited the developer behind Russia's EpiVacCorona vaccine as saying on Thursday.

Russia faces a surge in coronavirus cases that authorities have blamed on the Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations. On Thursday, Russia reported 24,471 new COVID-19 cases and 796 deaths related to coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

EpiVacCorona, Russia's second of four vaccines to be registered, was developed by the Vector Institute in Siberia. Sputnik V is Russia's flagship vaccine.

"The Delta variant is widespread on the territory of the Russian Federation, with isolated cases of the Gamma variant detected," Interfax cited the institute as saying.

The institute said the Delta and Gamma variants were categorised as "causing concern" because they spread more easily and can reduce the effectiveness of antibodies.

(Reporting by Marina Bobrova and Maxim Rodionov; Writing by Alexander Marrow and Barbara Lewis)

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