New South Africa COVID-19 Variant Raises Global Concern

New COVID-19 Variant From South Africa Possibly More Dangerous, Infectious

NEW SOUTH AFRICA COVID-19 VARIANT – Recently, South Africa saw a surge of coronavirus cases due to a new variant.

Back on December 18, 2020, South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize reported a new coronavirus variant. During the studies, the variant was found similar to that of Britain.

According to the Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), the virus may have stemmed from immunocompromised patients. Based on an article from Philstar, KRISP bioinformatician Houriiyah Tegally said:

The virus replicates many more times in these patients and… that’s how such a case of escape (to another human) can happen.

New South Africa COVID-19 Variant Raises Global Concern
Image from: VOANews

The new variant from South Afria was named 501Y.V2. This variant had a number of mutations on its spike protein. As such, the virus is now able to infect humans and create an immune response.

Unfortunately, this meant that the variant from South Africa was “more transmissible” and was able to evade antibodies at a higher rate. Furthermore, the strain from shared the same mutation with the one in Britain. However, the two are distinct from each other.

Still, further studies need to be conducted to determine if the virus strain from South Africa is more dangerous. However, as more people catch the virus, more risk of becoming ill.

Meanwhile, health authorities from South Africa raised concerns that vaccines may not work on the new strain. However, BioNTech said antibodies who received their vaccine “effectively neutralised” the virus.

But, Tegally stated that the study failed to test “one of the mutations we have been worried about, so does not actually say whether its vaccine will work or not“.

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