Scientists in South Africa have discovered a new type of coronavirus with multiple mutations, but has not yet determined whether it is more contagious or able to overcome the immunity provided by vaccines or previous infection.
The new version, known as C.1.2, was first detected in May and has already spread to most South African provinces and seven other countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania, according to research. has not yet been submitted for review by the scientific community.
It has several mutations associated with other variants with marked transmissibility and reduced sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies, but these occur in a different mix, and scientists are still not sure how they affect the behavior of the virus. Laboratory tests are underway to determine how well the variant is neutralized by antibodies.
South Africa was the first country to detect the beta version, one of only four classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “type of concern”.
Beta is believed to spread more easily than the original version of the coronavirus that causes covid-19, and there is evidence that vaccines have less effect against it, leading some countries in the southern part of Africa. Travel has to be restricted.
Richard Lessells, an infectious disease expert and one of the authors of the C.1.2 research, said that its emergence shows that “the epidemic is not over and the virus is still looking for ways to possibly be better at infecting us.” “