South Africa's Newest COVID-19 Variant Accumulates Mutations of Concern
Geneticists in South Africa have issued an alert regarding a new SARS-CoV-2 betacoronavirus variant, announced GAVI on September 1, 2021.
The C.1.2 variant has captured these geneticist interests because it carries several genetic mutations similar to those found in other highly transmissible variants, which can evade the immunity generated by COVID-19 vaccines to some degree.
Although it shares some similarities with that original C.1 variant, C.1.2 has “mutated substantially” beyond the original Wuhan strain of the coronavirus, according to researchers at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Both the WHO and the South African National Department of Health were alerted to the circulation of C.1.2 in July 2021.
The World Health Organisation has not yet labeled C.1.2 a “variant of interest” or a “variant of concern." This means there isn’t yet evidence of significantly increased transmissibility, susceptibility to disease, and/or decreased effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostics, vaccines, or therapeutics associated with C.1.2.
Moreover, there is not enough evidence to know whether it spreads more easily or poses a serious threat to efforts to prevent COVID-19 at the current time, says GAVI.