South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla says the changes are making the COVID-19 epidemic worse.
Scientists in South Africa have discovered a new type of COVID-19 in a small group of people and are trying to understand its potential effects.
The variants – called B.1.1.529 – contain “very strange” stars of the mutation, which are affected because they can help prevent the immune system and cause transmission, scientists told reporters at a press conference Thursday.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) says 22 cases of new infections have been reported in the country following a national sequence.
“Unfortunately we have found a new species that is a cause for concern in South Africa,” virus expert Tulio de Oliveira told a news conference.
The changes “have many changes”, he said. “Unfortunately it is causing disease,” he added.
It has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong among travelers from South Africa, he said.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the discrepancy was “extremely alarming” and as a result of “an increase” in reported cases, creating “significant risks”.
Daily illnesses jumped more than 1,200 Wednesday, up from about 100 earlier this month.
Before realizing the new type, officials predicted that a fourth wave would hit South Africa from mid-December, boosted by travel before the holiday season.
The NICD said in a statement on Thursday that “the number of people infected with the virus is” increasing rapidly “in three parts of the country including Gauteng, including Johannesburg and Pretoria.
A recent epidemic of gangs has been identified, which took place at a tertiary institution in Pretoria, the NICD said.
“Although the data is limited, our experts are working overtime with all monitoring systems to understand the new differences and potential implications,” it said.
Since the outbreak, South Africa has registered an estimated 2.95 million COVID-19 people, of whom 89,657 have died.
Dr Lessells adds that the data show a steady increase #MATENDA A COVID19 Events in Gauteng, possibly due to the spread of gangs. Work needs to be done to understand the meaning of #NewVariant. Vaccination remains a challenge. # B11529 pic.twitter.com/4zlderzifQ
– NICD (@nicd_sa) November 25, 2021
Scientists say the new version of B.1.1.529 has at least 10 mutations, compared to two Delta or three Beta variants.
“What worries us (is) that this change may not only increase the spread, so the spread, but also the ability to surround the immune system and the defenses we have in our body,” he said. researcher Richard Lessells.
At present the differences appear to be particularly prevalent among young people.
But the coming days and weeks will be crucial to understanding the dangers of diversity, Lessells said.
South Africa has called for an urgent meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) on HIV / AIDS change Friday to discuss new differences.
Health Minister Phaahla said it was time to decide whether the government would impose strict sanctions on the differences.
South Africa was the first country to recognize a Beta version last year.
Beta is one of only four so-called “serious” diseases by the WHO because there is evidence that it is highly contagious and the vaccine does not work well against it.