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First case of new COVID variant found in France as cases rise

The French health ministry said a Frenchman who recently arrived back in France from London had tested positive for the new variant of the coronavirus.

December 26, 2020 / 01:06 PM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

France recorded its first case of the new variant of coronavirus, as the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 mounted in the country, increasing concerns of a new wave of the virus hitting the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

The French health ministry said a Frenchman who recently arrived back in France from London had tested positive for the new variant of the coronavirus.

The ministry said the case - the first in France - had been found in the city of Tours. The man in question arrived from London on December 19. He was currently self-isolating and felt alright, the ministry added.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock had said on December 14 that a spike in COVID cases in the United Kingdom might have been linked to the new variant of the virus in the country.

Hancock said more than 1,000 cases of the new variant had been identified, mainly in southeastern England.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Countries around the world have in recent days closed their borders to both Britain and South Africa following the identification of cases of the new, fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus in those countries.

France registered 20,262 new, confirmed COVID-19 cases and 159 more related deaths in hospitals in the last 24 hours.

France's number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at 2,547,771 while its COVID-19 death toll stands at 62,427 - the seventh-highest in the world.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Reuters
first published: Dec 26, 2020 12:51 pm

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