The dollar, yen, gold and defensive assets rose in value. The ruble opened sharply lower, testing 7-month lows above 75.70 per dollar.
24 British scientists have reported a new strain of coronavirus. They speculated that the strain originated in Botswana.
According to scientists, infections with the new strain have been recorded, in particular, in South Africa and Hong Kong, writes RBC. This variant of COVID-19 is called B.1.1.529.
The World Health Organization is convening an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss a new variant of the coronavirus, first discovered in South Africa and Botswana, the Financial Times reported.
Presumably, the new mutation B.1.1.529 is spreading faster than the previous ones. It is also more contagious and possibly less susceptible to vaccines.
According to the South African authorities, a total of 77 people have been infected with the new virus in the country. Four more infected were registered in Botswana and one in Hong Kong, writes the BBC.
British professor Tim Peacock, who has studied the new strain, said B.1.1.529 has 32 mutations in the protein compounds of the coronavirus spike. According to him, this gives the new variant of the coronavirus the ability to more easily penetrate the cells of the human body.