The development of the COVID-19 pandemic has entered a new phase, one of which is the Corona c.1.2 variant which was recently discovered by experts. Reportedly, this latest variant is even more contagious than the currently monitored variant.
Corona Variant Discovery Research c.1.2
It is variant C.1.2, the latest variant of COVID-19 which was detected in South Africa, has again occupied the world’s experts. This one variant is feared by experts to be far more infectious than the previous variant and could avoid vaccine ‘detection’.
This is contained in a new preprint study by South Africa’s National Institute for Infectious Diseases and Sequencing Platforms, and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation. The report itself is currently waiting peer review.
Quote from The Jerusalem Post on Monday (30/8/2021), the scientists detected the C.1.2 variant for the first time in May 2021. It is a derivative of the C.1 variant that was detected in January 2021.
It says this variant of C.1.2 has “mutated substantially” over C.1. It is also far more mutated than the original virus which was first detected in Wuhan or Variant of Concern (VOC) and Variant of Interest (VOI) detected so far.
The study also found that the C.1.2 lineage had a mutation rate of about 41.8 mutations per year, almost twice as fast as the mutation rate of other variants globally.
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Need Further Research Regarding the Dangers
Although scientists believe this is more contagious, scientists have not been able to prove that this variant is more dangerous than other variants including Delta.
The C.1.2 strain was first identified by scientists in South Africa. Since then this variant has also been found in the UK, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.
Scientists claim that this brief period of evolutionary increase is also seen with Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants which are always followed by a spike in cases. Thus encouraging a faster mutation rate.
More than half of the C.1.2 sequences had 14 mutations. Among these are N440K and Y449H which have been associated with the release of certain antibodies. The scientists added that further work is needed to understand the exact impact of this mutation.
As of last Wednesday, WHO had identified four VOCs and four VOIs. As of last Thursday, the European Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) had identified five and six, respectively.
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Can Avoid Antibodies
Further research is still needed to examine the functional impact of this mutation. However, the scientists warned that the C.1.2 variant mutated substantially and could potentially help the virus evade antibodies and immune responses.
“Although the full import of the mutation is not yet clear, genomic and epidemiological data suggest that this variant has a selective advantage of increased transmission, immune shedding, or both,” the report said. Mirror, Tuesday (31/8/2021).
“These data highlight the urgent need to refocus the public health response in South Africa to suppress transmission. Not only to reduce hospitalizations and deaths, but also to limit lineage spread and further viral evolution,” the report continued.
“This pandemic is far from over. This virus is still looking for ways to potentially get better at infecting us,” said Richard Lessels, an infectious disease specialist in his research on C.1.2.
With a variety of existing studies, Lessels emphasized that the public need not worry. The latest variant mutations will indeed become more numerous, especially in a pandemic.
Judging from the genome sequencing data from South Africa, it can be seen that the C.1.2 variant is still much less widespread than the dominant Delta variant in July 2021.
Until now, Delta is still the fastest and most powerful variant in the world. According to Lessels based on its mutation pattern, the Corona c.1.2 variant may have more immune evasion properties than the Delta variant.
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