A new variant of covid-19, C.1.2, has been identified in South Africa. The virus has been detected in many countries and according to experts, the new variant can be more transmissible. The protection from the vaccine can also be of no use against this variant.
According to the Scientists in National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform. C.1.2 variant was first detected during the 3rd wave of Covid in South Africa which was in May. They also informed that the variant has been identified in China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, England, New Zealand, Portugal, and Switzerland since then. It has been founded in major provinces of South Africa so far. Scheepers also said that more study is required in order to determine the impact of these mutations. that most probably includes escaping antibody neutralization. She added that studies are also needed to investigate whether it confers an advantage over the Delta variant.
According to Cathrine Scheepers, from NICD:
According to Cathrine Scheepers, from NICD, the new variant can have more transmissibility and the neutralization sensitivity of the variant will be less. It may have more mutations as compared to other variants which have been detected all over the world so far.
According to a study, C.1.2 will have 41.8 mutations per year. This will be 1.7-fold faster approx than the present global rate. Moreover, it will be 1.8-fold faster than the initial estimate of SARS-CoV-2 evolution. The variant has come from the C.1 variant as per experts. The C.1 variant dominated the first wave that was the SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa.
The study also found that C.1.2 genomes increase in the country each month. It rose to 0.2 percent in May followed by 1.6 percent in June and 2.0 percent in July. The increase is similar to Beta and Delta in South Africa during early detection.
South African scientists discovered the beta variant in 2020, but they are stressing the fact that the country’s advanced ability to sequence the genomes of the virus means that even if new strains may be identified in South Africa, they could have been originated from somewhere else in the world.