It was in late 2019 that the first case of coronavirus infection was detected in Wuhan, China. The virus soon spread to all nooks of the world like a wildfire and emerged as a global pandemic. In the course of time, the virus underwent several mutations, and variants like Delta and Delta Plus are posing a global health risk. Amid looming scare, researchers have now detected a new variant of Covid named C.1.2 in South Africa. Shockingly, this new variant of the pandemic is more transmissible, and it could even evade the immunity offered by vaccines.
Will C.1.2 wreak havoc on the planet?
Currently, the Delta variant of Covid is wreaking havoc on the planet, and medical experts have already classified it as the most contagious strain of the pandemic. However, the new study report suggests that the new variant, C.1.2 could be as dangerous as the Delta variant.
Scientists from National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) revealed that the mutation was first detected in May this year. Researchers who took part in the study revealed that the C.1.2 variant has been found in China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, England, New Zealand, Portugal, and Switzerland, as of August 13.
The yet-to-be-reviewed study posted on the preprint repository MedRxiv suggested that the C.1.2 variant of Covid has mutated drastically when compared to C.1, one of the lineages that dominated the pandemic's spread during the first wave of Covid in South Africa. It should be noted that C.1.2 has more mutations than any other variants of concerns.
C.1.2: World on high alert
Researchers, in their study report, noted that the number of available sequences of C.1.2 may be an underrepresentation of the spread and frequency of the variant, not just in South Africa, but all across the world.
The study report also added that there has been a consistent increase in the number of C.1.2 genomes in South Africa each month, very similar to the scene after the detection of Beta and Delta variants of Covid.
"It could be more transmissible and has the potential to spread fast. Since there are so many mutations in the spike protein, it could result in immune escape and thus a challenge for the vaccination drive worldwide if allowed to spread. Thus, controlling the transmission step itself by strictly cutting down the spread by following appropriately COVID-19 control measures is absolutely important," Virologist Upasana Ray who is not involved in the study told PTI.