South Africa is witnessing a flood of new mutant variants every day, and this is despite the super spreading fears.

The new super-Covid variant is believed to be responsible for thousands of new South African cases every day.

The nation’s infections have rocketed in a matter of days amid the detection of the new strain, sparking global concern.

Top Covid tracker Dr Tulio de Oliveira, director at the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (where scientists are pictured working) claimed the new variant had already become dominant in South Africa in the space of two weeks


Top Covid tracker Dr Tulio De Oliveira, director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation, where scientists are pictured working, claimed that the new variant had already been dominant in South Africa within two weeks.Credit:
How South Africa's Covid cases dramatically increased


How South Africa’s Covid cases have dramatically increased

South Africa was in a period with relatively low Covid cases.

However, Thursday’s diagnosis was for 2,465 patients, nearly double Wednesday’s 1,275, and up from 794 seven days earlier.

This means that infections have quadrupled in the span of a week, and are nearly 10-fold higher than they were a month ago.

It is unknown how many of these cases are due to the so-called B.1.1.529. Less than 100 have been identified through genetic sequencing.

South African scientists are currently trying to determine how many of these new cases may have been caused in part by the new variant. This variant initially appears to spread quicker and escape immunity.

But most of the nation’s confirmed cases are in the Gauteng province, where the majority of positive swabs that have been through laboratory testing signal the new variant.

The nation’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla said on Thursday the new variant appears to be driving the spike in cases.

Scientists were still trying to determine whether the sudden outbreak was caused by it.

Dr Tulio, a top Covid tracker in South Africa and virologist, said it had already become dominant in just two weeks. It suggests the thousands of cases each day are B.1.1.529.

He said it was estimated it was behind 90 per cent of cases in the Gauteng province – which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The importance of the “exponential growth in cases”, the UK’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid said today analysis “does indicate that there could many more cases of this new variant than just those that have been sequenced so far”.

Positive tests for strains are not always screened. Therefore, confirmed cases are often lower than the real number.

Pretoria saw the first surge. Cluster outbreaks of students at universities in the surrounding area were also evident.

Dr Susan Hopkins is chief medical adviser for the UK Health Security Agency. She stated that the R-rate in Gauteng province, South Africa where the variant clusters, had jumped from 2.

It was, she said. “really quite high”It is similar to what would be in the UK had it not been for the lockdown of March 2020.

South Africa wasn’t a high-vaccinated country, but it was. “highly immune”Dr Hopkins stated that it was due to a prior infection.

It is being investigated whether the new variant could be causing new infections in patients who have received a coronavirus vaccine or another vaccine.

‘Worst ever’

Experts are certain that this variant is the most serious, but its importance is unknown.

It has twice the number of mutations as the Delta variant. The latter took global dominance by 2021 and is currently considered the best. “most fit”Versions of this virus have been discovered so far.

Mutations are what give viruses advantages. The B.1.1.529 is a combination of many dangerous variants that evolved over the past year.

Prof Lawrence Young, Virologist and Professor of Molecular Oncology, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, said: “This new variant of the Covid-19 virus is very worrying.  

“It is the most heavily mutated version of the virus we have seen to date.  

“This variant carries some changes we’ve seen previously in other variants but never all together in one virus. It also has novel mutations that we’ve not seen before.  

“Some of the mutations that are similar to changes we’ve seen in other variants of concern are associated with enhanced transmissibility and with partial resistance to immunity induced by vaccination or natural infection.”

Friday’s assessment of South Africa’s data was the subject of a technical group led by the World Health Organization.

It will determine whether or not the new variant should be designated as a. “Variant of Interest”Or “Variant of Concern”.

These genetic mutations are known to have an impact on transmissibility, disease severity, infectibility, and immunity. 

It has been given the title of “British” in the UK. “Variant of Interest of high priority”.

Spreading fast

Belgium, which follows Israel earlier today, is the latest country that has confirmed it has detected the variant.

It means the variant has been confirmed in five countries as of yet – but is already deemed a “huge international concern” by the UK’s Health Sec Mr Javid.

He said it to MPs in the House of Commons “highly likely”The B.1.1.529 variant was already well-known in Africa and other countries.

On Thursday night, the Government included South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho as well as Eswatini (Zimbabwe), Zimbabwe, and Namibia on the UK’s travel list.

But it’s already possible the variant is spreading here despite the swift action.

Experts believe that B.1.1.529 could end up in Britain. However, efforts to reduce transmission and buy time would be beneficial.

Sharon Peacock, head of the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, told reporters that “I believe buying time is important and worthwhile because we can learn what we need about that particular variant.”

“This is part of important planning and preparation for something that I would guess is likely to be transmitted into the UK at some point, but it buys that time.”

Sajid Javid speaks to the Commons about the new Covid-19 variant

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