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New COVID-19 strain detected in S/Africa – Study

A new COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa and is believed to be more infectious than previous strains,…

A new COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa and is believed to be more infectious than previous strains, according to results of a preliminary study seen by APA on Monday.The study by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform said the new variant, known as C.1.2, was first identified in May 2021 during the third wave of COVID-19 in the country. 

The variant is said to have since been detected across most of South Africa’s 10 provinces and in seven other countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania, the researchers reported in the study that is yet to be peer-reviewed.

The other countries where the strain has been detected are England, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.

The variant is said to have evolved from C.1, one of the lineages that dominated the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa and was last detected in the country in January 2021.

The researchers warned that the C.1.2 variant is “associated with increased transmissibility and reduced neutralisation sensitivity.”

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