Concerns have been raised as a new highly transmissible Covid strain has been discovered in the United Kingdom.
Scientists are keeping a close eye on the Covid-19 version that is likely to be the most altered yet.
The variety, known as C.1.2 in the UK, carries several changes that have been associated to greater transmissibility in other variants.
According to a study, the new variation of the virus identified in Wuhan, China “had between 44 and 59 mutations away from the original” form of the virus.
It also has an extraordinarily high mutation rate of roughly 42 per year, which is nearly double the average for other organisms.
C.1.2 was initially discovered in South Africa in May, and there have been roughly 100 cases worldwide, including at least one in the United Kingdom.
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Dr. Richard Lessells, a South African infectious diseases specialist, said his team had alerted the World Health Organization.
“This new variation is just something we’re keeping a close eye on, and we’re doing some laboratory work to see how it functions and what properties it might have,” he explained.
The new strain is related to the C.1 virus that circulated in the country during the first wave of infections.
Rather than the more dangerous categories of a variant “of concern” or “under investigation,” Dr. Lessells said the C.1.2 type did not appear to be taking hold and was being monitored.
In South Africa, the Delta form is the most common, accounting for more than 90% of Covid cases.
When asked about the possibility of C.1.2 evading vaccine protection, he stated that the vaccines should still be effective in preventing severe disease. “Looking at the pattern of mutations in this new variation, it doesn’t appear to be much different from what we’ve seen before,” he added.
Dr. Lessells further stated that rare cases had been discovered in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and China.
In early July, Public Health England added the variant to a list of those it was tracking.
Last night, PHE declined to comment and did not disclose how many instances of C.1.2 had been discovered in the area.
The study was posted on the medRxiv preprint server. Preprints are draft reports of research that have not yet been peer-reviewed.
In the meantime, the UK has recorded 26,476 Covid-19 cases and 48 deaths. The figures did not contain data due to the bank holiday. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”