A health worker process a COVID-19 antibody test after getting the blood from the patient.
BBC reports that according to Reuters news agency, the Minister told the government in a meeting that Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining the characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK.
Long said Vietnam would soon publish genome data of the newly identified variant, which he said was more transmissible than the previously known types.
This new variant is believed to be a combination of the two variants that were first detected in the United Kingdom and India.
From the WHO's current understanding, the variant detected in Vietnam was the B.1.617.2 variant, more commonly known as the Indian variant, possibly with an additional mutation, she said.
The U.K. variant is believed to be more transmissible than ordinary strains, while the Indian variant is both more transmissible and potentially less susceptible to neutralizing antibodies of the immune system, experts said.
More than 6,800 cases including 47 deaths have been reported in Vietnam, with the lion's share occurring since April.
The communist country has previously received widespread applause for its aggressive pandemic response, with mass quarantines and strict contact tracing helping keep infection rates relatively low.
It has not responded to the claims about a new variant in Vietnam. All religious events are banned nationwide, and authorities in major cities have closed public parks and nonessential businesses to help stop large gatherings, according to the AP.
Vietnam, a country of 97million people, has vaccinated one million people with AstraZeneca shots and it sealed a deal with Pfizer last week for 30million doses, which are set to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of this year.
'Principally speaking, it should not be called the Thai variant because the infected person is from overseas, ' said Opas Kankawinpong, head of Thailand's disease control department.