A U.S. epidemiologist has issued a warning about a new highly transmissible variant of COVID-19, C.1.2, said to be the fastest mutating strain yet. People would need three doses of the vaccine to be protected against this variant, the expert added.
According to scientists, the C.1.2 strain that was found in South Africa has a mutation rate of 41.8 mutations yearly, doubling the existing global mutation rate that was observed in any other variant of concern.
The C.1.2 COVID strain was first found earlier this year in South Africa and has then in England, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Portugal, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
There are still very few details available about this variant but it is already said to be making its way to Australia, where cases and outbreaks of the Delta strain were recorded particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
Although this strain still needs a lot of studying, experts are worried and are on edge, including Dr. Eric Feigh-Ding, an epidemiologist and Senior Fellow at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington.
“It’s got lots of troubling mutations and it’s the most mutative of all variants,” he told the Today show on Wednesday.
“It’s the most genetically distanced from the Wuhan 1.0 virus. Whether or not it’s the next big thing, it’s not necessarily that, it’s the fact that the virus is mutating so much faster than we expected.”
Dr. Feighl-Ding is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers program, a Soros Fellowship recipient and a former Democratic candidate. He advocated a COVID19 elimination strategy.
Dr. Feighl-Ding that we can’t just keep boosting the vaccines. “We have to basically stop the transmission worldwide because the more bodies we give the virus, the more practice chances the virus will eventually adapt and become even more evasive or contagious.”
He also said that two doses of the vaccine may not work to fight against the virus and added that Israel started administering third booster shots.
“Unless you’re triple vaxxed, you’re not considered fully vaxxed. And that approach as much as it sucks, it is the reality that with the face of these new variants,” Dr Feigl-Ding said.
“Right now vaccines do work, but obviously the work against hospitalizations and deaths really well. But for just casual breakthrough mild infections, with Delta it’s taught us that there’s a lot more breakthroughs than we know and after six months it does tend to wane a little bit. This is why the sooner we end it, the sooner we can stop dealing with these upgrade software upgrade patches that we have do with the vaccine,” he concluded.