Vaccine Efficacy May Be Reduced by a New COVID-19 Variant With a “Large Number Of Mutations.”
In South Africa, a novel COVID-19 variant has been found with several mutations and the potential to be highly contagious.
Researchers have detected the mutation, now identified as B.1.1.529, in the country’s economic heartland, Gauteng region, according to South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla. Botswana and Hong Kong have also discovered the variation.
Following the discovery of the new variety, the World Health Organization’s technical working committee will convene on Friday to assess the strain’s hazard. B.1.1.529 has a few mutations that could affect how it reacts to vaccines, but not much else is known about it.
“We don’t know much about this at the moment. What we do know is that there are a lot of mutations in this variation. And there’s a fear that having so many mutations will have an impact on how the virus behaves “Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, stated in a Q&A.
Researchers are currently looking into the novel COVID-19 variant and what it could mean for “our diagnostics, treatments, and vaccinations,” according to Van Kerkhove.
South African health officials discovered the new type in 22 COVID-19 cases in the country as of Thursday. At least four cases of the new variety have been discovered in people who have had all of their vaccines.
The United Kingdom’s health authorities have now placed South Africa to the country’s “red list” of dangerous destinations. All flights to the region’s six countries have also been canceled.
“More information is needed, but we’re already taking safeguards. Six African countries will be added to the red list at noon tomorrow, flights will be temporarily suspended, and UK travelers will be required to quarantine “Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom, revealed the news on Twitter.
Despite the dissemination of the B.1.1.529 variation, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases reports that COVID-19 case numbers in South Africa are still far lower than those reported during the country’s Delta surge earlier this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel alert, South Africa, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe are rated as “COVID-19 low” as of Thursday. Namibia has a COVID-19 moderate rating, Lesotho has a COVID-19 high rating, and Botswana has a COVID-19 very high rating.