The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) remains confident that despite the various mutations of the coronavirus, vaccines currently being administered will mitigate against death and hospitalisation.
Last night, the NICD announced the emergence of a new variant, C.1.2, which has relatively low frequency across the country, at just 3%.
Scientists say they are conducting a study on its transmissibility.
The variant was first detected in South Africa in May.
Prof. Adrian Puren on the C.1.2 COVID-19 variant discovered in SA:
The NICD’s Professor Penny Moore says several labs in the country are assessing the efficacy of vaccines against C.1.2.
“What that entails is taking blood from people who have been vaccinated and also from people who have been infected with COVID-19. We grow the virus C.1.2 in a lab and we actually test the antibodies from those people against the virus to access that. Protection from severe disease is mediated by a separate arm of the immune system, T- cells.”
“T-cells are much more tolerant of mutations. T-cells maintain almost all their activity against the variants that we have so far. This is the reason that despite the various mutations in this variant, the vaccines that we have will still protect against severe disease,” adds Professor Moore.
Discussing new mutation of the COVID-19 virus circulating in SA: