Scientists in South Africa on Thursday revealed that they have discovered a new variant of Covid-19.
The variant with a high number of mutations was discovered on Tuesday, 23 November 2021.
The B.1.1.529 variant was first spotted in Botswana and six cases were initially found in South Africa, but the numbers have climbed to 22.
South African scientists said they will meet the WHO on Friday to get a name for the new variant identified as “B.1.1.529”.
Earlier on Thursday, South Africa recorded more than a thousand new Covid-19 cases.
Epidemiological data suggest a sustained increase in Covid-19 incidence across Gauteng, possibly fueled by cluster outbreaks
“The new variant (B.1.1.529) has been detected in multiple samples from across Gauteng,” said the scientists.
“Public and private testing labs in Gauteng have noticed a significant and rapid increase in detection of variant (based on PCR proxy), and now increasing in other provinces.
“The mutation profile is predicted to give significant immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility … urgent work already started to understand the full significance.
“We can make some predictions about the impact of mutations in this variant, but full significance uncertain and the vaccines remain critical.”