A new coronavirus mutation has been discovered in Finland. It resembles the South African variant.

Photograph: Sergio Santos/Flickr

A new Covid-19 variant has been detected in Finland.

The variant is tentatively called Fin-796H. It was detected through sequencing conducted by the Institute of Biotechnology for Vita Laboratoriot Oy, a company specialized in laboratory services.

“It’s a unique virus mutation that has not been reported in other parts of the world,” Dr. Sakari Jokiranta, a specialist in clinical microbiology at Vita Laboratoriot Oy, said in an interview with Finland Today.

Several coronavirus mutations have been discovered across the globe. Most of them have emerged from the UK, South Africa, Brazil and Japan.

The Finnish mutation, however, appears similar to the South African variant in that it could reduce the efficacy of current coronavirus vaccines.

“The same mutation has been discovered in the Finnish variant as well,” Jokiranta said.

A unique trait in the Finnish variant, according to Jokiranta, is that it may go undetected in some PCR coronavirus tests recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Finland, according to Jokiranta, the test is based on two reactions, which in layman’s terms prevents the virus from slipping through the cracks.

“In Finland, one doesn’t need to worry that the diagnostics would not work,” Jokiranta assured.

It is still unclear how widespread the Fin-796H variant is in the country, and where it has originated from.