fbpx
COVID-19 NewsINTERNATIONALMEDICAL & HEALTHCARE

South Africa Records New Variant Of COVID-19

South Africa Records New Variant Of COVID-19

A new variant of the COVID-19 virus, B.1.1.529 has been detected in South Africa.

The variant is said to have a high number of mutations, which may be a source of concern in relation to immunity and transmissibility.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) while confirming this on Thursday, revealed that 22 positive cases of the new variant have so far been detected in the country.

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, confirms that through collaborative efforts with private laboratories and the NGS-SA members, a new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa,” the statement reads.

“Twenty-two positive cases of variant B.1.1.529 have been recorded in the country following genomic sequencing collaborations between the NICD and private laboratories. In addition, other NGS-SA laboratories are confirming more cases as sequencing results come out.

Adrian Puren, NICD acting executive director, said it is “not surprising” that a new variant has been detected in South Africa.

“Although the data are limited, our experts are working overtime with all the established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be. Developments are occurring at a rapid pace and the public has our assurance that we will keep them up to date,” Puren said.

The institute said Joe Phaahla, the country’s health minister, confirmed that the new variant has also been detected in Botswana and in Hong Kong.

He said the variant was of “serious concern” and behind an “exponential” increase in reported cases, making it “a major threat”.

Michelle Groome, head of the division of public health surveillance and response at the NICD, also said provincial health authorities remain on high alert and are prioritising the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples.

“This means that individuals should get vaccinated, wear masks, practice healthy hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and gather in well-ventilated spaces. Individual compliance to preventative measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant,” she added.

About Author

Aina Adepeju is a Mass Communication graduate. Adepeju loves photography. She is a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). Adepeju can be reached via [email protected]

Comment here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.