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TimesLIVE timeslive.co.za 25 Nov, 2021 14:15 am

Another Covid Christmas on the cards as new variant explodes in SA

It may be more transmissible than Delta and it’s spreading fastest among under-25s, so now’s the time to get vaccinated

The national coronavirus command council will meet at the weekend to discuss whether the Covid-19 lockdown should be intensified after the discovery of a worrying new variant.Scientists are concerned the new variant of Sars-Cov2 could spread rapidly, reduce protection from natural immunity and vaccines and cause a hospital crisis ahead of the festive season.KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (Krisp) genome sequencer Prof Tulio de Oliveira said the new variant “is concerning for predicted immune-evasion and transmissibility”.We were hoping the rise in numbers in Gauteng could be contained and were caused by the Delta variant but this new variant being identified reinforces the fact that our invisible enemy is very unpredictable.

” Eighty percent of cases of this new variant have been found in Gauteng where numbers have been climbing over the past few days.De Oliveira said he and other scientists at universities around the country had researched the variant as quickly as possible and found that it has a “very high number of mutations” with more than 30 located at the spike protein.

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