Coronavirus

New ‘most mutated Covid-19 variant’ found in South Africa

 

By Dnaindia.com, Daily Mail and Sanook.com

South Africa – A new Covid-19 variant, C.1.2, detected in South Africa and several other countries, has put global health experts on alarm.

As per a new study that is preprint and awaits peer review, the C.1.2 variant may be more infectious and have the ability to evade Covid-19 vaccines currently available.

The study, conducted by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform, showed that C.1.2, first detected in May 2021, had evolved from C.1 strain which was detected last in January.

The scientists discovered that C.1.2 has “mutated substantially” in comparison to C.1. The new strain also has more mutations from the original Covid-19 strain that emerged from Wuhan, China, compared to all other Variants of Concern (VOC) or Variants of Interest (VOI) detected across the world so far.

Not just South Africa, the presence of C.1.2 has also been confirmed in other countries like China, England, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mauritius.

Furthermore, the study says that the mutation rate (41.8 mutations per year) of C.1.2 variant is almost twice as fast as the global mutation rate shown currently by other variants.

The scientists said that this faster rate of mutation for a short duration is consistent with the evolution of Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants. This could mean that a single evolution event, which was followed by a spike in Covid-19 caseload, was behind the faster rate of mutation.

The C.1.2 has also shown the N440K and Y449H mutations, which are linked to the ability to evade some types of antibodies produced by Covid-19 vaccines. The scientists believe these mutations likely mean that C.1.2 can escape vaccines or antibodies in people developed from Alpha or Beta variant infections.

On whether C.1.2 is more dangerous than the currently dominant Delta variant, scientists say more research work is needed to confirm.

Meanwhile Thailand’s Public Health Ministry today (Aug. 30) said the daily Covid tally dropped to 15,972 cases but fatalities remained high at 256.

Of the new batch of cases  15,692 were among the general public and 280 in prisons and detention centres.

This takes the cumulative confirmed total since the start of the pandemic to 1,190,063 and in the current wave 1,161,200.

Today’s 256 fatalities raised the death toll to 11,399.

Another 17,281 patients have been cured taking total recoveries since April to 974,418 while 176,137 are undergoing treatment.

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Top: A gloved hand holds a model of coronavirus that represents a variant of concern.  Photo: Jernej Furman (CC BY 2.0)

Home Page: Coronavirus has spread across the globe. Photo: Megan Mason, Pixabay (CC BY 2.0)

 

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