Scientists detect new Covid-19 variant in South Africa: Report
Scientists in South Africa have detected a new variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) with multiple mutations, news agency AFP reported on Thursday. The development was announced amid a recent surge in infection rate in the country.
"Unfortunately we have detected a new variant which is a reason for concern in South Africa," virologist Tulio de Oliveira said at an emergency news conference.
Earlier today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officials met to discuss the emergence of a new coronavirus variant – B.1.1529 – circulating in South Africa and neighbouring Botswana.
The variant, according to a statement by Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute published in the Science Media Centre, possibly evolved during a chronic infection of an immuno-compromised, likely in an untreated HIV/AIDS patient.
As many as 22 cases of the new variant have been reported in South Africa so far, stated the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Data is limited and scientists are still working to find more about its potential transmissibility. However, a few reports have claimed that the new variant from South Africa could be worse than the Delta variant, which was the cause behind the horrific second wave of pandemic in India.