Risk related to the spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in the EU/EEA – first update

Viruses constantly change through mutation and variations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, due to evolution and adaptation processes, have been observed worldwide. While most emerging mutations will not have a significant impact on the spread of the virus, some mutations or combinations of mutations may provide the virus with a selective advantage, such as increased transmissibility or the ability to evade the host immune response. In this update we report new information on the spread of three virus variants (VOC 202012/01, 501Y.V2 and variant P.1). These variants are considered to be of concern because of mutations which have led to increased transmissibility and deteriorating epidemiological situations in the areas where they have recently become established.

Based on the new information, the risk associated with the introduction and community spread of variants of concern has been increased to high/very high and the options for response have been adjusted to the current situation.

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