A new COVID-19 variant called the C.1.2, has been detected in South Africa and a number of other countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, with concerns that it could be more infectious and evade vaccines.
According to The Edge Markets, a study by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform reported that scientists first detected C.1.2 in May 2021, finding that it was descended from C.1, which scientists found surprising, as C.1 was last detected in January.
Photo via Reuters
The new variant had “mutated substantially” compared to C.1 and is more mutations away from the original virus detected in Wuhan than any other variant of concern (VOC), or variant of interest (VOI) detected so far.
While first detected in South Africa, the C.1.2 has since been found in England, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.
JPost said scientists believe that the number of available sequences of C.1.2 may be an under-representation of the spread and frequency of the variant in South Africa and around the world.
The study found consistent increases in the number of C.1.2 genomes in South Africa on a monthly basis, rising from 0.2% of genomes sequenced in May to 1.6% in June and then to 2% in July, similar to the increases seen with the Beta and Delta variants.
The C.1.2 lineage also had a mutation rate of about 41.8 mutations per year, which is nearly twice as fast as the current global mutation rate of other variants.
Scientists stated that this short period of increased evolution was also seen with the Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants, suggesting that a single event, followed by a spike in cases, drove faster mutation rates.
More than half of the C.1.2 sequences have 14 mutations, but additional mutations have been noticed in some of the sequences, suggesting that evolution within the lineage is ongoing.
Even after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, keep taking precautions to protect yourself, family and friends.
Posted by World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, August 30, 2021
Though the C.1.2 is not detected in Malaysia yet, it’s better that we take precautions and always take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
Remember to always follow the SOPs, wear a face mask when you’re out in public, wash your hands regularly and maintain physical distancing!
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat