Experts Are Concerned: New Variant Of COVID Found In South Africa The Most Mutated So Far

By JPost
Posted on 11/25/21 | News Source: JPost

Israel classified several African countries as red after a new variant considered dangerous emerged in the region.
South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Aswatini will be put under travel ban, Prime Minister Bennett announced Thursday night. Foreigners will be banned to travel to Israel and returning Israelis will need to quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated.
The new variant first detected in South Africa is raising concern among experts.
Called B.1.1.529,  it presents 32 mutations in its spike protein. Some of these mutations have been associated with a higher transmissibility and vaccine-resistance in other variants.
A group of South African scientists said that early signs from diagnostic laboratories suggest the variant has rapidly increased in the most populated province of Gauteng, and may already be present in the country’s other eight provinces.
South Africa has confirmed around 100 specimens as B.1.1.529, but the variant has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong, with the Hong Kong case being a traveler from South Africa. As many as 90% of new cases in Gauteng could be B.1.1.529, scientists believe.
All viruses tend to constantly mutate. While most mutations have no consequences, a cluster of mutations can engender a new variant, and the virus may create a different protein as a consequence.