A new highly mutated variant of the COIVD-19 has been identified in South Africa even as the Delta variant continues to surge and infect people at a very fast and alarming rate. According to an expert, C.1.2 variant has shown signs that demonstrated a higher chance to evade antibodies and “are associated with increased transmissibility”.
Dr. David Aronoff, Director of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt, discovered the variant as he is carefully monitoring trends around the world amid the pandemic.
According to Aronoff, the newly discovered variant, C.1.2, that was first identified in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Gauteng in South Africa has alterations in the protein outside of the virus that is almost the same as what they have observed in other variants which may stick to cells easier, Bloomberg reported.
“The variant which is the C.1.2 variant has modifications to the spike protein on the outside of the virus similar to what we’ve seen in other variants that would predict that the virus may be able to stick to our cells [easier] or be more sticky,” Aronoff said. “Therefore, be more of a threat. We wouldn’t have to breathe in very much of the virus to be affected.”
The variant has also been found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Portugal, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
“There are other modifications that would predict that it (C.1.2) might be better able to reproduce to higher levels in our body. The thing that would be concerning to us is if there are enough modifications to the outside of the virus that our own antibodies, induced by either vaccination or previous infection, would make us more susceptible to this variant,” Aronoff said.
Studies about the variant are already in progress to see if the change in this mutation inflicts the same chaos the Delta variant brought.
“What we’ve seen with the latest variant reported coming out of South Africa has more to do with the potential for causing more harm than what we’ve actually seen this variant cause,” Aronoff added. He is expecting the reports to be available soon.