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‘Heavily mutated’ COVID-19 variant worries scientists

Scientists are concerned about a novel coronavirus type found in Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous province, according to Health Minister Joe Phaahla.

The number of new COVID-19 related illnesses in South Africa has risen dramatically, Phaahla said.

According to him, the new variant appears to be causing the spike in cases over the previous four or five days.

The novel variety, named B.1.1.529, has been found in South African tourists in Botswana and Hong Kong.

The WHO’s technical working committee will meet Friday to analyze the new variant, which is a “constellation” of new mutations,” said Tulio de Oliveira, from the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa.

The “very high number of mutations is a concern for predicted immune evasion and transmissibility,” said de Oliveira.

Far more mutations

It has far more mutations than the original “the spike protein that impacts transmissibility. “We can tell that the variation is spreading rapidly. We expect the healthcare system to be under pressure in the coming days and weeks”, he said.

“The evolution jump in this variety worries us “explained he The good news is that a PCR test can detect it.

After a period of relatively low transmission in which South Africa recorded just over 200 new confirmed cases per day, in the past week the daily new cases rapidly increased to more than 1,200 on Wednesday. Thursday’s total was 2,465.

South Africa, with a population of 60 million, has recorded more than 2.9 million COVID-19 cases including more than 89,000 deaths.