Russian scientists claim to have discovered new variants of Covid-19 in Moscow and are urgently investigating them.
The Sputnik-V vaccine researchers are believed to be studying the effectiveness of their vaccination against the strains they claim have been uncovered in a new spate of cases in the capital.
However, others have suggested that several of the “new” strains may have sprung up elsewhere before being identified in Moscow – although these reports have yet to be verified by international agencies.
The so-called Moscow tribe, first highlighted by Russian state media, was not officially named in any of the worrisome or interesting variants of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Urgent tests are currently underway in Russia to determine the origin and composition of the strains.
The Mirror reached out to WHO for comment to see if the new variant is legitimate.
The developers of the Russian Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine are investigating the effectiveness of the vaccine against the virus mutation, scientists from the state news agency RIA Novosti announced on Tuesday Moscow times.
The head of the Gamaleya Center, Alexander Gintsburg, said, “We think the vaccine will be effective, but we have to wait for the study results.”
The new twist on the claims comes when Moscow authorities made the vaccine mandatory for some workers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also left for his first summit with Joe Biden since he took office.
Moscow authorities are making vaccinations mandatory for 60% of workers in the service sector, a decree released on Wednesday showed as coronavirus cases continued to rise in the Russian capital.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the situation in the city was developing dramatically and urged people to get vaccinated to reduce hospital stays and deaths.
Immunologist Vladimir Bolibok said: “Probably the most important reason for the rise in coronavirus infections is the emergence of our own Moscow tribe.
“Our own mutation that spread across Russia. The Moscow tribe may not come from Moscow either.
“It just came to Moscow from a city and was starting to expand a lot.”
Data analyst Alexander Dragan has now warned Russia of a “full third wave” of the pandemic in dozens of regions.
The Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF will apply for approval of its Sputnik-V vaccine from the European Medicines Agency within two months, the Interfax news agency said.
Russia reported 13,397 new Covid cases on Wednesday, including 5,782 in Moscow, bringing the official national record since the pandemic started to 5,249,990.
The government’s coronavirus task force said 396 people had died from Covid-related causes in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 127,576.
The federal statistics agency kept a separate census and said Russia had around 270,000 deaths related to the virus from April 2020 to April 2021.