A new covid variant has been detected by scientists which is said to be potentially more transmissible compared to previous known variants. This deadly variant called C.1.2 has been found in South Africa and some other countries as well. The PTI report suggests that C.1.2 variant, deemed to be a ‘variant of interest’ was first detected by scientists from National Institute for communicable diseases (NICD) and the Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) in South Africa this year in May (2021).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a variant of interest as a “specific genetic markers that have been associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralisation by antibodies generated against previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy of treatments, potential diagnostic impact, or predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity”.
This newly discovered variant has more mutations than other variants of concern that have been detected worldwide so far. “The variant has 44- 59 mutations which makes it different from the Wuhan strain. This variant could be highly transmissible and can cause severe diseases among those who catches it”, Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine was quoted as saying to the Indian Express
Is it deadlier than the Delta variant?
“It is slightly soon to say if the variant is more deadly/ contagious than the already existing Delta variants”, Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, additional director and HOD, pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad told to the Indian Express. “The data available so far suggests that it is not as infective and deadly as the Delta variant” he added.
C.1.2 variant in India
The government has so far recorded no such cases of new variants, according to news agency ANI. “The variant is not increasing in circulation yet but it is advisable to maintain proper hygiene and safe social distancing measures by the people,” advises Dr Chatterjee.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical head, World Health Organisation (WHO) took to Twitter on August 30 and addressed the concern about the C.1.2 variant. In the tweet, she wrote that WHO has been in constant touch with South African researchers regarding the follow up of sequencing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quick thread on the C.1.2 variant that has been in the news and on twitter today…
First remember that the more the virus spreads the more opportunity it has to change. We have the tools to prevent infections, reduce the spread & save lives – lets use them.
— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) August 30, 2021
In the series of Tweets, she also wrote that the process of monitoring and assessment of variants is going on. “It is also critically important to understand the evolution of this virus, in fighting COVID-19 & adapting strategies as needed” she wrote.