Highlights

New Covid variant may be more infectious, evade vaccines: study

C.1.2, potential variant of interest, first detected in S Africa in May

C.1.2 has mutated substantially compared to C.1: researchers

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New Covid variant may be more infectious, evade vaccines: study

A new variant of coronavirus has been detected in South Africa and many other countries globally. A study has shown that the variant C.1.2 could be more transmissible and evade protection provided by vaccines

A new variant of coronavirus has been detected in South Africa and many other countries globally. A study has shown that variant C.1.2 could be more transmissible and evade protection provided by vaccines

Scientists from National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) in South Africa said the potential variant of interest, C.1.2, was first detected in the country in May this year.

C.1.2 has since been found in China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, England, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland as of August 13, they said.

According to the researchers, C.1.2 has mutated substantially compared to C.1, one of the lineages which dominated the Covid infections in the first wave in South Africa.

The new variant has more mutations than other variants of concern or variants of interest detected worldwide so far, the researchers said.

Also watch: New Zealand records first death linked to Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

They noted that the number of available sequences of C.1.2 may be an under-representation of the spread and frequency of the variant in South Africa and around the world.

The study found consistent increases in the number of C.1.2 genomes in South Africa each month, rising from 0.2 per cent of genomes sequenced in May to 1.6 per cent in June and then to 2 per cent in July.

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