Africa CDC to investigate new variant of the coronavirus

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The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says they are investigating the new variant of the coronavirus in South Africa to determine the impact it will have on the continent.

Scientists have expressed concern over the rapid manner in which the new variant transfers among people – saying the South African variant is mutating at an alarming rate.

This after the Health Department reported the country’s highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic of over 14 000 infections in the past 24-hours. Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong says they will further investigate the variant.

“We all know that there is a new variant of the SARS-Cov2, which was reported in SA last Friday. The Africa CDC is coordinating actions to further investigate the new variant to determine if it is more infectious, more transmissible or has the potential to cause more severe illnesses. Research is being conducted to assess the impact of the mutation on the performance of the existing diagnostic test and vaccines.”

What is the new coronavirus variant?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has sought to explain how the COVID-19 variant, found in South Africa, rapidly transmits among people saying the mutation likely assists the coronavirus to bind to human cells.

The virus mutation in the spike protein known as N501Y- latches easily on to and enters human cells, causing health complications.

There are strong suspicions that the variant may be spreading faster than expected, with officials pleading with the public to ensure they take extra precautions against contracting the virus.

Scientists have warned that the number of coronavirus cases across South Africa is likely to be much higher than the reported figure saying the country is not conducting enough tests for COVID-19.

The Department says it’s evaluating the alarming rise in coronavirus infections across South Africa and is considering making further restriction recommendations for hotspot areas.

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