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This new COVID-19 variant is the most mutated variant so far, study says

A new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa can mutate faster than other variants

SHARE This new COVID-19 variant is the most mutated variant so far, study says
Photo of the coronavirus.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19.

NIAID-RML via Associated Press

Scientists have discovered a new coronavirus variant in South Africa and a number of other countries, and it could be more infectious and evade vaccines.

The new study — which has not been peer-reviewed but has been published on medrxiv — unveiled the new variant C.1.2, which is a descendant of the C.1 variant that was originally discovered in January 2021.

  • This is different than the South Africa variant — which is known as the B.1.351 variant — that made headlines in April, as I wrote for the Deseret News. That variant is widely known as the beta variant, according to the World Health Organization.
  • The C.1 and C.1.2 variants are not listed as a variant of interest or concern by the World Health Organization.

But C.1.2 had “mutated substantially” compared to its predecessor, and has several different mutations compared to the original version of the coronavirus that was discovered in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, according to the study.

  • The mutations “are associated with increased transmissibility” and has the ability to evade current COVID-19 vaccines, according to Bloomberg.
  • “It is important to highlight this lineage given its concerning constellation of mutations, the researchers said in the study, which came from researchers at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

In fact, the virus has more mutations than any variant of concern or interest that has been discovered across the world.

  • C.1.2 has already made its way to England, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Questions about variants have been on the rise as of late. There has been widespread concern that the coronavirus will develop into a new strain that will evade vaccines.

But Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told Fox News that the vaccine developer will monitor new variants and create new vaccines to fight them off.

  • “Every time that a variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it,” Bourla told Fox News. “And they are researching to see if this variant can escape the protection of our vaccine.
  • “We haven’t identified any yet, but we believe that it is likely that one day, one of them will emerge,” he added.