New ‘most mutated variant so far’ MAPPED – and it’s already in the UK, according to Covid.
Scientists in South Africa have raised the alarm about the “most mutated variant” of coronavirus spreading beyond the country’s boundaries. What exactly is the C.1.2 variety, and where has it been reported?
Last May, the newly found SARS-CoV-2 virus variation first surfaced in South Africa as a potential variety of interest (VOIC). C.1.2 has been dubbed the “most modified so far,” with mutations to the genetic coding that could make it more transmissible and hazardous. Worse, the coronavirus has already been found in a few places outside of Africa, notably the United Kingdom.
C.1.2 has a mutation rate of roughly 41.8 mutations per year, according to a report pre-published on the medRxiv platform — nearly twice the rate of any other variety of concern (VOC).
During the initial wave of the pandemic, the variation most likely arose in a big metropolitan center in South Africa.
C.1.2 has since expanded across numerous provinces, accumulating a number of concerning mutations.
When the coronavirus replicates within a host’s body, there’s a potential that the virus’s genetic coding will change.
As with the Delta variety first discovered in India, the alterations could make the virus more docile or transmissible.
C.1.2 refers to a group of viruses with a similar genetic makeup, rather than a single mutant strain of SARS-CoV-2, according to Ian M. Mackay, an Associate Professor at The University of Queensland’s Faculty of Medicine.
“[Viruses] continuously change and mutate due to selective forces, as well as opportunity, luck, and chance,” he stated.
“Some of the particular changes in C.1.2 are alarming. However, we have no idea how they’ll work together as a bundle.
“And, in comparison to other variants, it’s too early to say how these mutations will effect humans.”
There is no need to be alarmed at this time, according to the expert, because it has not yet spread far.
Outside of South Africa, the variation has been found in eight countries.
The report’s authors in South Africa claim that it has spread “across the majority” of the country’s provinces.
However, the number of people affected is low: in July, C.1.2 accounted for just approximately 2% of all coronavirus genomes examined.
“The C.1.2 lineage was initially found in the Mpumalanga and Gauteng areas of South Africa,” the authors noted in the report.