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First case of ‘worst-ever’ Covid-19 variant reported in Europe

The first case of the Covid-19 ‘Nu’ variant has been detected in Belgium, according to local media reports corroborated by a leading doctor, who said the health authorities have handled two “suspicious” samples.

We are currently analyzing two suspicious samples,” Marc Van Ranst, a leading virologist whose laboratory works closely with Belgium’s public health body Sciensano, said on Twitter.

The virologist elaborated on his remark to Reuters, explaining the samples were described as “suspicious” since they were not the Delta variant, which has been dominant in Belgium.

According to local media reports, at least one case of the new strain – the B.1.1.529, or ‘Nu’ variant – has been detected in the country. The virus was reportedly found in a young woman who recently traveled to Egypt via Turkey. The patient reportedly had neither been vaccinated nor contracted Covid-19 in the past. If confirmed, the Belgian case is set to become the first one detected in Europe.

Van Ranst confirmed media reports later in the day, revealing the patient returned from Egypt on November 11, developing her first symptoms 11 days later.

In Belgium, one sample was confirmed as the novel B.1.1.529 variant (in a returning traveller from Egypt (11/11); first symptoms on 22/11).

— Marc Van Ranst (@vanranstmarc) November 26, 2021

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