The new variant of the coronavirus dubbed C.1.2 has been detected in South Africa, a study published by the South African Institute of Communicable Diseases and the Research, Innovation and Sequencing Platform at KwaZulu revealed on Monday. Natal (Krisp).
The researchers, who conducted the study, are concerned that this new variant of interest (VOI) of SARS-CoV-2 is characterized by increased transmissibility, resistance to neutralization and associated disease severity.
“This line was first identified in May 2021 and evolved from C.1, one of the lines that dominated the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa and were detected for the last time in January 2021 ”, they specify.
The Director of KRISP, which reports to the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Tulio de Oliveira, stressed that “the reason we decided to publish this research is that we see the persistence of C.1.2 in South Africa. “.
Moreover, he added, “we believe that in this pandemic, it is crucial to share the information available as quickly as possible”, stressing that this new variant is so far found in 10 other countries.
“The C.1.2 variant has been detected in the majority of provinces in South Africa and in several other countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania,” he continued.
South Africa has been facing a devastating third wave of Covid-19 infections since last June, mainly fueled by the delta variant first discovered in India.
Last Friday, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said this third wave of infections, which is lasting longer than expected, is causing concern among authorities about an impending fourth wave. “This third wave of the coronavirus takes longer to flatten out than the first two, which could harm health services as the fourth wave approaches,” he said at a press briefing .
South Africa, the country most affected by the pandemic in Africa, is still lagging behind in the vaccination race. Since the start of the pandemic, the country has recorded nearly 2.8 million positive cases of coronavirus, including more than 81,000 deaths.
To achieve herd immunity in the southern African country of 59 million people, more than 40 million people must be fully immunized.