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Scientists warn of new ‘B.1.1.529’ Covid variant with high number of mutations found in Botswana and South Africa

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South Africa has confirmed 100 cases of the new coronavirus variant B.1.1.529. Botswana has three cases, and Hong Kong has one, involving a South African traveler.

A new COVID variant in South Africa has become a worrying subject as scientists have initiated their research, Bloomberg reported. The B.1.1.529 variant has been found in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong although the affected cases are lesser in number as of yet.

New COVID Variant in South Africa

The new variant called B.1.1.529 is a highly contagious by-product of B.1.1 which is spread through a person who traveled to South Africa. South Africa has confirmed around 100 specimens as B.1.1.529. But researchers fear this number could increase. They are showing concern about a possible intense fourth wave that might get viral globally.

Limited Data Issue

“It is not surprising that a new variant has been detected in South Africa,” stated NICD Acting Executive Director. He further said, “Although the data are limited, our experts are working overtime with all the established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be.”

Epidemiologist & health economist, Eric Feigl-Ding also expressed his concern on Twitter about the B.1.1.529 variant having 32 mutations. He also indicated the potential danger this variant could spark internationally. This potentially harmful variant spread through an immuno-compromised patient going through a chronic disease. According to a statement from the Science Media Centre, it could be an HIV/AIDS person that couldn’t get treatment.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla said during a media talk on Thursday, “We were hopeful that we might have a longer break in between waves — possibly that it would hold off to late December or even next year January.”

Initial cases of this new COVID variant were recorded in Botswana whereas in South Africa it was observed after three days.

“Awful Spike Mutation Profile”

Dr. Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, shared some important details about the B11529 variant. He stated that the higher number of spike mutations shows a possible concern and that the Botswana variant has a “really awful Spike mutation profile”.

Scientists and virologists are already examining the possible growth of the B11520 variant as they have already witnessed dozens of cases associated with this alarmingly dangerous variant.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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