The new variant was first detected in India around three months ago and has now been detected in Denmark for the first time with two confirmed cases, news wire Ritzau reports.
Health Minister Magnus Heunicke confirmed the variant had been found in Denmark in a Twitter post on Saturday.
The variant, BJ.1, is a subvariant of the existing Omicron form of the coronavirus and was first registered in India on July 2nd. It has since been detected in four other countries.
“Two cases of the new Covid-19 subvariant BJ.1 have been found in Denmark,” Heunicke wrote.
“It is completely expected that BJ.1 would appear in Denmark and the State Serum Institute [national infectious disease control agency, ed.] is not currently concerned but is following the situation closely,” he said.
It is currently unclear whether BJ.1, also termed BA.2.10.1, can be expected to cause more serious symptoms than the current dominant form of Omicron.
“BJ.1 has more mutations to the spike protein than subvariants of the dominant BA.5, but the importance of these mutations is not known for certain,” Heunicke wrote.
BJ.1 har flere mutationer i spike-proteinet end undervarianterne til den dominerende BA.5-variant, men betydningen af mutationerne kendes ikke med sikkerhed. Den blev påvist første gang d. 2. juli 2022 i Indien, og er indtil videre primært set i Indien og enkelte andre lande.
— Magnus Heunicke (@Heunicke) September 24, 2022
The most recent infection trends report, issued last week by the State Serum Institute, stated that infection numbers in people aged 60 and over had increased during the preceding week. Infection numbers have been otherwise stable in all age groups in recent weeks.
Denmark currently only recommends a PCR test for Covid-19 for people at risk of serious illness who suspect they have the virus.
Last week’s infection trends report noted that BJ.1 was yet to be detected in Denmark.