A new COVID variant has been detected in South Africa.
The new variant has a HIGH number of mutations according to scientists.
A new variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus has been detected in South Africa, its health minister, Joe Phaahla, announced Thursday.
Scientists say the new variant is a concern because it has a high number of mutations and spreads rapidly among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province, he said at an online press briefing.
“Over the last four or five days, there has been more of an exponential rise [in new infections],” he said of South Africa’s case numbers of the CCP virus.
A surge in cases, which appeared to be cluster outbreaks from student gatherings in Pretoria and Tshwane, prompted scientists to study the genomic sequencing and subsequently discover the new variant, Phaahla said.
Scientists in South Africa are now working to determine what percentage of the new cases have been caused by the new variant, identified as B.1.1.529.
To date, 10 cases of the new variant have been confirmed by genomic sequencing, with three cases in Botswana, where it was first detected; six cases in South Africa; and one case in Hong Kong, in a traveler from South Africa.
The new variant has a “constellation” of new mutations, said Tulio de Oliveira, from the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa. He added that the high number of mutations is “a concern” as it could make the virus capable of evading immunity.
Now, we have this.
BioNTech/Pfizer are testing to see if their vaccine works against the new variant.
They admit the vaccine “may require an adjustment.”
JUST IN – BioNTech/Pfizer expects lab test data on the impact of the "new variant" within 2 weeks; then decide whether the vaccine "may require an adjustment."
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 26, 2021
Germany’s BioNTech said Friday it was urgently studying how well the coronavirus vaccine it developed with Pfizer protects against the new B.1.1.529 variant detected in South Africa.
“We expect more data from the laboratory tests in two weeks at the latest,” a spokesperson said.
“These data will provide more information about whether B.1.1.529 could be an escape variant that may require an adjustment of our vaccine if the variant spreads globally.”
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