New COVID Strain Found In South Africa: All We Know So Far

South Africa's health department said that the new genetic mutation might be responsible for the recent spike in infection in the country.

India   |   24 Dec 2020 8:11 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-12-24T15:09:05+05:30
Writer : Devyani Madaik | Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Creatives : Abhishek M
New COVID Strain Found In South Africa: All We Know So Far

Credits: Pixabay 

Amid concerns over the new strain of coronavirus found in the United Kingdom, another variant has been discovered, which has links to South Africa.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Wednesday, December 23, confirmed that two cases of this new variant were detected in the nation. The two cases were the contacts of people who have travelled from South Africa over the past few weeks, NDTV reported.

South Africa's health department said that the new genetic mutation might be responsible for the country's recent spike in infections.

What Do We Know?

Hancock said that the new variant is highly concerning, given that it is 40-70 per cent more transmissible. "It appears to have mutated further than the new variant that was discovered in the UK earlier this week," the minister said.

After the discovery, the UK immediately imposed restrictions on all the travels from South Africa. Various countries closed doors to South Africa and Britain after the new strain of the virus was discovered.

Susan Hopkins from Public Health England told the media that the department has more information on the variant found in the UK, as they have been studying it in great detail with several academic partners. However, they are still learning about the South African variant.

Effects Of COVID Vaccine

As of now, there is no evidence whether the vaccines being developed will work or not, Hopkins said. "But what means, in fact, is that there's strong evidence that the vaccines will work because it produces a strong immune response."

Speaking to The Logical Indian, Dr Trupti Gilada, Physician in Infectious Diseases, Unison Medicare and Research Centre, Mumbai said that it is natural for a virus to mutate over time. Hence, vaccines need updates accordingly.

Scientists have said that the virus has mutated many times after it was first discovered in Wuhan. The two significant mutations in the virus have been discovered are the H69/V70 deletion, and D164G, both of which affect the spike proteins, and help the virus reach the human cell. The scientists have said that the more human body gets adaptable to the virus; the virus also tends to fight back by weakening the immune system, Business World reported.

Amid the rising concerns in India, a 28-year-old man who had flown from the UK on November 29, and tested positive for coronavirus on December 15, is suspected of carrying the new strain. The patient is admitted at Nagpur's Government Medical College.

Also Read: "Goswami Breaks Savarkar's Record": Republic TV Apologised 280 Times To British Media Watchdog

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