New Delhi (NVI): The new Covid-19 mutant found in South Africa is likely to be more transmissible, may hit young people harder, and maybe slightly more resistant to vaccines, scientists in South Africa believe.
However, research is still continuing to confirm the threat posed by the variant, which does not appear to provoke more serious symptoms or require different treatment.
The new strain, two cases of which have now been detected in the UK, is called the 501Y.V2 variant.
It was discovered through routine surveillance by a network of laboratories around South Africa, and found in almost 200 samples collected from more than 50 different health facilities. Originally confined to coastal regions, the variant is now spreading inland.
Data on the South African variant, which has swept across a swath of the country, has already been compared by scientists to the UK variant detected last week.
“Putting our data together with that in the UK, this [South African] variant is a bit more effective at spreading from person to person and that is not good. It means we have to get a bit better at stopping it,” said Dr Richard Lessells, one of the specialists leading research into the new variant in South Africa.
Meanwhile, with reports of a new strain, nearly eight countries have so far closed doors to passengers coming from South Africa.
Germany, Turkey, Israel, Switzerland, the UK, Uzbekistan and the Netherlands aren’t permitting any flights from South Africa to enter their country.