New Covid-19 variant discovered in South Africa

So far, C.1.2, as the researchers call it, has been detected in four more countries; it is not considered a mutation of concern.

ALEX DE JESUS/O TEMPO/ESTADÃO CONTENTDiscovery of new variant announced on Monday

The discovery of a new variant of coronavirus was announced this Monday, 30, by researchers from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases of South Africa (NICD, for its acronym in English). According to him, the mutation, called C.1.2, was identified for the first time in May in Gauteng province — the largest district in the country, where the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria are located — and in Mpumalanga. Within three months of the variant’s emergence, it was detected in seven more administrative divisions and in countries such as New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland and Mauritius. The experts’ analysis states that the variant has characteristics of the Delta mutation, originating in India, and Beta, which originated in South Africa.

At a press conference, researcher Cathrine Scheepers stated that C.1.2 has up to 59 mutations, a number higher than the average for others, which is 25. Even with the experts’ alarm, C.1.2 was not considered a variant of concern by the World Health Organization, as it was not detected with high frequency. It is still not possible to know whether the variant is more transmissible than the others and the NICD must carry out research to analyze whether vaccines are effective in combating their symptoms. So far, the Delta variant is the most common among those infected in the country. Since the beginning of the pandemic to date, South Africa has registered 2.7 million cases and 81,800 deaths caused by Covid-19.