The AY.4.2 variant may spread widely, Kamil Khafizov, a senior researcher at Russia's health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, said on October 21.
The new variant could spur a jump in the rate of new COVID-19 cases and even replace the Delta variant eventually, although the process is likely to be slow.
Russia has by far the largest official death toll in Europe -- 227,389 -- and the fourth-highest globally.
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