South African scientists discover a new variant of Covid-19

The new variant C.1.2 is still under study to determine its mortality and infection rate.

Photo: EPA / Peter Foley / Archive / EFE

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases of South Africa (NICD, for its acronym in English) has detected this Monday a new variant of covid-19: C.1.2. According to the NICD, this new strain it could be the most mutated that has been found to date. They fear it could be more deadly and have the ability to evade vaccines. However, it is still under study to publish more accurate results.

Variant C.1.2 is already in England, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland, according The Jerusalem Post. The strain from which it was developed, C.1, had already been discovered in January of this year.

According to scientists, the variant has behaved similarly to the Delta, since the increase in the number of genomes (which is what determines the mutation of a virus) is already close to 2%, like the variant that is currently plaguing the world. Specialists indicate that C.1.2 it is extremely different from the original that was discovered in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.

“While defining the phenotypic characteristics and epidemiology of C.1.2, it is important to highlight this lineage given its worrying constellation of mutations, which have been observed in other variants and are associated with greater transmissibility and less sensitivity to neutralization by antibodies ”, describes the study.

Currently, very little is known about the new variant, so it cannot be conclusively established that, compared to Delta, there is a significant difference in terms of infectivity and death of the virus in question. The study also found that the C.1.2 lineage has a mutation rate of approximately 41.8 mutations per year, which is almost twice as fast as the current global mutation rate of the other variants.

At this point in the global pandemic, it is common to find more variants as time passes. Many disappear and others deserve to be followed up. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has five different variants of Covid-19 on its list, but none of them coincide with C.1.2. For its part, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified six different strains. All of the above are being monitored by the relevant institutions.


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