December 6, 2021

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What do we know about the new variant that has emerged in South Africa, which makes officials anxious

B.1.1.529, already in Botswana and Hong Kong, is behind the “rapid” increase in cases in South Africa.

It is not yet named after the Greek alphabet. B.1.1.529, a new variant of Covit-19 has been discovered in South Africa. Not surprisingly, variants of the corona virus have been on the rise since the beginning of the health crisis.

This B.1.1.529 may well join the list of variants considered “worrying” established by the World Health Organization in light of “interest” or recently reported data. With highly contagious and many mutations, it creates the beginning of the most important epidemic in the African country. A “big threat” that health officials are concerned about.

Possibility to spread “too fast”

The B.1.1.529 variant has a “very high” number of mutations, with the support of the Kwazulu-Natal University, which, according to a team from the KRISP Research Institute, already discovered the beta variant last year.

“We can see that it has the potential to spread very quickly,” said virologist Tulio de Oliveira. Online press conference chaired by the Ministry of Health.

The effectiveness of vaccines has not been established

Early viral mutations make the virus more contagious, more contagious: this is the level of the delta variant that was first discovered in India, and according to the WHO the effectiveness of vaccines has been reduced by 40%. Govt resistance to disease transmission.

At this point, South African scientists are not sure about the effectiveness of existing vaccines against the new form of the virus.

“What worries us is that this variant not only has increased transmission capacity, but can also cross certain parts of our immune system,” said Professor Richard Lessells, another researcher.

Is already abroad

To date, 22 cases have been reported, mostly affecting young people, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD). Cases have also been reported in neighboring Botswana and Hong Kong against a man who returned to South Africa.

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The WHO meets on Friday to determine the risk of this variation. “There are many variations, but some do not affect the progression of the disease,” John Enkengkong told a news conference from the African Union Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

But already, “the number of cases detected and the percentage of positive tests are increasing rapidly,” the NICD said in a statement, especially in the more populous provinces of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

A terrible new wave in South Africa

Health facilities should expect a new wave of patients in the coming days or weeks, scientists warn.

South Africa, officially the most infected country on the continent, has seen a further increase in pollution in recent weeks. Health Minister Joe Pahla said the first reason for the delta variance was that this “rapid” increase was caused by the last modified form, which represented a “major threat”.

Its appearance “reinforces the fact that this invisible enemy we are dealing with is highly unpredictable,” he added.

There are about 2.9 million Govt-19 cases in South Africa, resulting in 89,600 deaths. More than 1,200 new cases were registered on Wednesday in the 24 hours, up from 100 at the beginning of the month. Authorities fear the new epidemic could spread by the end of this year. Only 35% of eligible adults are fully immunized.

Higue Garnier with AFP BFMTV Reporter