The National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) confirmed on its site today that 22 cases of infection with this variant B.1.1.529 have been identified in different laboratories. They specialize in RNA research, which can be used to assess the origin of a mutation, among other things.
One hundred infections
“The data is still limited,” says NICD director Adrian Puren, “but our experts are working overtime to understand the new variant and determine what the possible consequences could be.” Developments follow each other in rapid succession, he says. In the meantime, the deviating variant has been identified in almost a hundred people.
Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) have already been convened to discuss the available data on B.1.1.529. According to bioinformatics professor Tulio de Oliveira, the newly discovered virus variant is unusually different from previous versions.
The altered virus, whose spike protein to enter the cell deviates in 32 places, has also already surfaced in Botswana. According to Kereng Masupu, coordinator of the Covid-19 control service, people who had been vaccinated against corona were infected there.
Hoping for ‘longer break’
South African Health Minister Phaahla said: “We had hoped for a longer break between the corona waves, that a new one might not be released until the end of December or maybe January.”
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