Updated statement of the German Society of Virology
The second wave of rising COVID-19 disease in Europe is overshadowed by the discovery of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Initial sensitization to this issue was caused by a mutant that arose in Danish mink farms. Now, a variant first discovered in South Africa (B.1.351 or 501.V2 variant) and one discovered in England (B1.1.7 or variant of concern (VOC) 202012/01) are primarily attracting the attention of virologists and epidemiologists.
The rapid discovery of the virus variants can be attributed to intensive molecular surveillance in the countries. This includes sequencing of entire viral genomes and bioinformatic processing of the data obtained. In this way, changes in the virus genome can be found and classified in terms of their potential impact. In a statement dated 21.01.2021, the German Society for Virology (GfV) addresses molecular surveillance by sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in Germany.