"Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK", Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said on Saturday, describing it as a hybrid of the two known variants.
The variant has not been announced formally and the government is planning to make an announcement as per the world's map of genetic strains.
"After running gene sequencing on newly detected patients, we have discovered a new variant that is a mix of India and United Kingdom ones", Nguyen Thanh Long was quoted as saying.
The Health Ministry said the new variant is thought to be much more transmissible than the previously known types.
Vietnam's latest coronavirus wave since about a month ago has seen 3,595 local Covid-19 cases so far in 33 cities and provinces.
"The new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the United Kingdom variant", Long was quoted as saying, adding that authorities would soon announce the name and detailed characteristics of the newly discovered variant.
He said this was discovered after running tests on newly-detected patients.
Vietnam has previously received widespread applause for its aggressive pandemic response, with mass quarantines and strict contact tracing helping keep infection rates relatively low.
It is also in talks with Russian Federation to produce Sputnik V, according to state media, and is working on a home-grown vaccine. Worshippers sang and chanted while sitting close together without wearing proper masks or taking other precautions. In major cities, authorities have banned large gatherings, closed public parks and non-essential business including in-person restaurants, bars, clubs and spas.
It has not responded to the claims about a new variant in Vietnam.
The strain was first detected in Thailand in a 33-year-old Egyptian traveller, United Kingdom health authorities said, but 109 cases have since been found in Britain.