New Coronavirus Variant Found In French Region Of Brittany:
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A new coronavirus variant has been found in the French region of Brittany, said the French health ministry in a statement, adding that initial analysis did not show this new variant to be more serious or transmissible than others. The health ministry said the new variant had been found in a cluster of cases in a hospital center in Lannion, several of which had not been detected by PCR tests.

Officials said researchers at the Institut Pasteur were investigating whether genetic modifications had resulted in the new variant being more difficult to detect. The formation of new variants is a natural process as viruses evolve over time in order to survive. At present, only three variants of the novel coronavirus are considered alarming: the so-called British, South African, and Brazilian variants.

France's government has resisted calls for a new lockdown in the face of rising cases, with daily infections hovering well above the 20,000-mark. Its struggling vaccination drive hit a new roadblock on Monday as France joined other European countries in suspending the use of AstraZeneca jabs amid concerns over possible serious side-effects.

Health Minister Olivier Véran said he expected a verdict from the European scientific community on the jab by March 18, allowing the inoculation campaign to resume as soon as possible.

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