Experts have noted familiarities of the new B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant to the Beta variant. However, concern has been raised over how the mutations in the new variant could impact the behaviour of the virus.
Speaking during a Health Department briefing on Covid-19 developments in the country, Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr Richard Lessells explained that despite little information being known about the new variant, there have been certain areas that were flagged for concern.
It comes as the B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant has been detected in Southern Africa, including Botswana and South Africa. Among the concerns raised is that the variant has an increase in spike proteins – a protein found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid-19, and how it can affect how the virus can be neutralized.
Gauteng remains the country’s epicenter of the virus, and experts have anticipated that the new variant is present there. Positive cases of Covid-19 are quickly climbing in Gauteng, North West, and Limpopo.
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