South African scientists are investigating a new coronavirus variant “South African Variant” which is of great concern. It is raising fears that the country will once again face a potentially severe wave that will eventually spread worldwide. This wave would also be South Africa’s fourth wave of COVID 19.
This discovery is currently referred to as B.1.1.529. And this will be its name until WHO acknowledges and gives it a specific Greek letter. This new Coronavirus variant has numerous mutations and is quite different from the previous covid 19 variants. This information is revealed in a press conference held on Thursday where Tulio de Oliveira who is a South African bio-informatics professor at two universities spoke about it.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla was also present at this conference and said:
“Here is a serious mutation variant. We were hoping for a longer break between waves, possibly until late December or even January next year.”
More Information Regarding the New Coronavirus Variant
To date, virologists have identified nearly 100 cases in the country that have been linked to this very variant, according to Anne von Gottberg. She is the head of respiratory diseases at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
According to a separate statement, WHO officials have met to discuss the covid 19 virus. This virus has been observed in people living in Hong Kong as well as Botswana. This new variant is unique and is being detected in vaccinated people living in Botswana which is a neighboring country of South Africa. This has been confirmed by Kerrang Masupu, coordinator of the Presidential Covid-19 Task Force.
According to Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute, B.1.1.529 is likely to have evolved during chronic infection of an immunocompromised person, possibly in an untreated HIV/AIDS patient. South Africa’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic have been complicated by the fact that immunocompromised people can harbor the virus for longer. De Oliveira previously stated that the Beta variant, which was discovered last year in South Africa, could have come from an HIV-infected person.