Connect with us

The Plunge Daily

New COVID variant B.1.1529 alarming, WHO monitors heavily mutated virus

New COVID variant B.1.1529 alarming, WHO monitors heavily mutated virus
The new COVID variant, called B.1.1.529, with numerous mutations to the spike protein has been detected in South Africa.

COVID19

New COVID variant B.1.1529 alarming, WHO monitors heavily mutated virus

The new COVID variant, called B.1.1.529, with numerous mutations to the spike protein has been detected in South Africa in small numbers, says the World Health Organization. Officials said confirmed cases are still mostly concentrated in one province of South Africa, but it is likely to spread further. This variant has also been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong.




Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said they do not know much about the new variant. “What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. And the concern is that when you have so many mutations, it can have an impact on how the virus behaves.”

Van Kerkhove said researchers are getting together to understand where these mutations are in the spike protein and the furin cleavage site, and what that potentially may mean for their diagnostics or therapeutics and vaccines. She noted that there are fewer than 100 full genome sequences of the new mutation.

Tulio de Oliveira, South African scientist, in a media briefing hosted by the South Africa Department of Health said they have detected more than 30 mutations to the spike protein, the part of the virus that binds to cells in the body. He explained that the B.1.1.529 variant contains mutations associated with increased antibody resistance, which may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, along with mutations that generally make it more contagious. The variant has spread rapidly through the Gauteng province in South Africa.

Joe Phaahla, South Africa Minister of Health, pointed out that everybody travels in and out of Gauteng from all corners of South Africa. “So it’s a given that in the next few days, the beginning of rising positivity rate and numbers is going to be happening. It’s a matter of days and weeks before we see that.”


Also Read: Qandle turns profitable, registers 200% yearly growth


Meanwhile, the Indian government has asked states and UTs to closely track and test the contacts of international travellers from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong. Rajesh Bhushan, the Health Secretary, in a letter to the state governments, said it is imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries and also including all other at risk countries indicated in the revised guidelines for international arrivals issued by this ministry dated 11.11.2021 are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per health ministry guidelines.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top
Loading...