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New mutant of COVID-19 detected in South Africa

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New mutant of COVID-19 detected in South Africa

Johannesburg: Scientists announced Thursday the discovery of a new mutant from Covid-19 that may be highly contagious in South Africa, the African country most affected by the epidemic, which is witnessing a new rise in the number of infections.
“Unfortunately, we have discovered a new worrying mutant in South Africa that shows a very high number of mutations and we can see that it has the ability to spread very quickly,” virologist Tulio de Oliveira said at a press conference held virtually and supervised by the Ministry of Health. “.
His team from the Crisp Research Institute, backed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, discovered the highly contagious beta mutant last year.
Mutations of the initial virus can make it more transmissible to the point where it becomes dominant, and this was the case with the delta mutant discovered in India which, according to the World Health Organization, reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against Covid-19 by 40 percent.
At this point, these scientists do not know whether the currently available vaccines are effective against the new mutation they have discovered.
Professor Richard Lessels, another researcher at the institute, said: “What concerns us is that this mutant may not only have the ability to transmit faster, but also be able to damage parts of our immune system.”
So far, 22 cases of this new mutation have been reported, and most of them are young men, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. Other cases of this mutant were recorded in neighboring Botswana and Hong Kong in a person who had returned from a trip in South Africa.
The World Health Organization is scheduled to meet on Friday to determine the severity of this mutation. “There are many variants, but some of them do not affect the evolution of the epidemic,” John Nkengasong of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a news conference.

“big danger”

The institute confirmed in a statement that “the number of detected infections and the percentage of positive tests is increasing rapidly,” especially in the largest province of Gauteng in terms of population, which includes Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Scientists warned that health facilities expect a new wave of patients in the coming days or weeks.
South Africa, the country most affected by the virus on the continent, has been witnessing an additional rise in the number of infections for weeks.
It is possible that the emergence of this new mutation caused an upward rise “in the number of Covid-19 infections in recent weeks,” according to Health Minister Joe Vahla, who is present at the press conference held by scientists.
The emergence of this new mutant, he added, “reinforces the fact that this invisible enemy we are dealing with is unpredictable.”
South Africa is the most affected in the African continent by the epidemic, with more than 2.9 million infections and 89,600 deaths. On Wednesday, more than 1,200 new infections were recorded within 24 hours, compared to 100 at the beginning of the month. The authorities fear another wave of the epidemic by the end of the year.

So far, only 35 percent of eligible adults have been fully immunized.
Globally, Europe is once again the epicenter of the epidemic. Austria recently re-imposed closure measures, and France announced the strengthening of health measures, while the number of deaths in Germany exceeded the 100,000 mark.
In total, the virus has killed more than 5.16 million people worldwide since the end of 2019 when it was discovered in China.

(AFP)

in details

Johannesburg: Scientists announced Thursday the discovery of a new mutant from Covid-19 that may be highly contagious in South Africa, the African country most affected by the epidemic, which is witnessing a new rise in the number of infections.
“Unfortunately, we have discovered a new worrying mutant in South Africa that shows a very high number of mutations and we can see that it has the ability to spread very quickly,” virologist Tulio de Oliveira said at a press conference held virtually and supervised by the Ministry of Health. “.
His team from the Crisp Research Institute, backed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal, discovered the highly contagious beta mutant last year.
Mutations of the initial virus can make it more transmissible to the point where it becomes dominant, and this was the case with the delta mutant discovered in India which, according to the World Health Organization, reduced the effectiveness of vaccines against Covid-19 by 40 percent.
At this point, these scientists do not know whether the currently available vaccines are effective against the new mutation they have discovered.
Professor Richard Lessels, another researcher at the institute, said: “What concerns us is that this mutant may not only have the ability to transmit faster, but also be able to damage parts of our immune system.”
So far, 22 cases of this new mutation have been reported, and most of them are young men, according to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. Other cases of this mutant were recorded in neighboring Botswana and Hong Kong in a person who had returned from a trip in South Africa.
The World Health Organization is scheduled to meet on Friday to determine the severity of this mutation. “There are many variants, but some of them do not affect the evolution of the epidemic,” John Nkengasong of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a news conference.

“big danger”

The institute confirmed in a statement that “the number of detected infections and the percentage of positive tests is increasing rapidly,” especially in the largest province of Gauteng in terms of population, which includes Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Scientists warned that health facilities expect a new wave of patients in the coming days or weeks.
South Africa, the country most affected by the virus on the continent, has been witnessing an additional rise in the number of infections for weeks.
It is possible that the emergence of this new mutation caused an upward rise “in the number of Covid-19 infections in recent weeks,” according to Health Minister Joe Vahla, who is present at the press conference held by scientists.
The emergence of this new mutant, he added, “reinforces the fact that this invisible enemy we are dealing with is unpredictable.”
South Africa is the most affected in the African continent by the epidemic, with more than 2.9 million infections and 89,600 deaths. On Wednesday, more than 1,200 new infections were recorded within 24 hours, compared to 100 at the beginning of the month. The authorities fear another wave of the epidemic by the end of the year.

So far, only 35 percent of eligible adults have been fully immunized.
Globally, Europe is once again the epicenter of the epidemic. Austria recently re-imposed closure measures, and France announced the strengthening of health measures, while the number of deaths in Germany exceeded the 100,000 mark.
In total, the virus has killed more than 5.16 million people worldwide since the end of 2019 when it was discovered in China.

(AFP)

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