The new coronavirus variant identified as B.1.1.529 and possessing multiple mutations. Scientists and health authorities in South Africa confirmed on Thursday the detection of a new variant of the coronavirus that worries specialists, although the impact of this new variant has yet to be studied.
The new variant presents “a very unusual constellation of mutations”, but its “meaning is still uncertain”, explained Professor Tulio de Oliveira, of the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Sequencing Innovation Platform (KRISP, a scientific institution in eastern South Africa)
In total, so far, cases of this variant have been confirmed in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.
In September, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the other variant, the Mu variant, which has just been classified as a “variant of interest”, has a significant prevalence in Colombia, where it was first identified last January, and in Ecuador.
Being a “variant of interest” implies that a follow-up to know if there are mutations that can modify the way it is transmitted, make it more virulent or reduce the effectiveness of vaccines currently used to prevent covid-19.
The latest data from the Ministry of Health indicate that there are 8,527 new cases of coronavirus, which brings to 5,111,842 the total number of people infected with Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. The incidence is on the rise, standing at 148.84 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with 139.1 reported on Tuesday.
The occupancy rate of beds occupied by coronavirus stands at 2.56 per cent and in the ICU at 6.13 per cent.