Previous coronavirus infection may offer less protection from new variant

Healthcare workers tend to a patient at a temporary ward at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria

"One could speculate that the virus being exposed to different selective pressures in different regions of the world, together with rapid spread, may see these more favourable properties emerge more quickly, but we really don't know".

President Akufo-Addo in his 22 COVID 19 address disclosed that new strains of the virus have been discovered in the country.

Karim says there is evidence that the new variant of the coronavirus in South Africa, known as 501Y.V2, is 50% more infectious as it binds more readily to human cells.

"There could be ones that may be more deadly down the road, and so we want to make sure we try to reduce the amount of virus spreading because the more we allow it to spread, the more chance of these variants to appear", Jeff Kwong, a professor of public health and family medicine at the University of Toronto, told CTV News.

This variant was first reported back in December and while this new data paints a clearer picture, there are still many unknowns regarding how the mutations have changed other properties of the virus.

"Vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna are among most efficient vaccines we have for any disease". New case numbers have started to fall, giving some cause for optimism.

The decline "could be attributable to many factors, including enhanced physical distancing facilitated by lockdown regulations", Mkhize said.

"So far what the evidence seems to suggest is that they spread faster".

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has registered over 1.3 million infections and just over 37 000 COVID-19-related fatalities. "I'll wait for the data".

Professor Karim was part of a panel hosted by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on the latest regarding the new COVID-19 variant. "Those studies are still under way".

Fears over the new variant helped convince some airlines to limit flights into and out of South Africa.

Speaking to Starr News, the Senior Research Fellow and virologist said tests on other variants which bear semblance to that of the Brazilian variants were yet to be finalized... He explained why this matters.

This type is understood to be spreading more rapidly but experts sa_id _it wasn't more severe. 501.V2 has already seen beyond the national borders in 20 other countries including the United Kingdom.

In virus-stricken California, where doctors are already dealing with overwhelmed hospitals as a result of the highly transmissible United Kingdom variant, another variant has also been ramping up. Not much, doctors said.



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