New COVID-19 Variant Detected in South Africa

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform have discovered a potential variant of interest (VOI) of COVID-19, the C.1.2.

According to their study, C.1.2, has been detected in South Africa, and in the UK, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal, and Switzerland.

C.1.2  was first discovered in May 2021 and was identified to have come from the C.1 strain detected last January.

C.1.2 was also found to be “associated with increased transmissibility and reduced neutralization sensitivity”  and is nearly twice as fast as the current global mutation rate of the other variants.

Cathrine Scheepers, Senior Researcher at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), said in the paper’s abstract that  they needed “to determine the functional impact of these mutations (C.1.2), which likely include neutralizing antibody escape, and to investigate whether it confers an advantage over the Delta variant.”

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