South Africa marks new coronavirus strain causing increase in cases

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa has a new strain of coronavirus that is driving a second wave of infections, the health minister said on Friday, days after Britain said it had also raised a new version of the outbreak. virus detection.

“We have called this public meeting today to announce that a variant of the SARS-COV-2 virus – currently known as 501.V2 Variant – has been identified by our genomics scientists here in South Africa, ”Health Minister Zweli Mkhize tweeted.

“The evidence gathered, therefore, strongly indicates that the second wave we are currently experiencing is driven by this new change,” Mkhize said.

South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus diseases in Africa, approaching the 900,000 mark, with more than 20,000 associated deaths. With a resurgence in affairs, the government put a strain on society this week.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday it was in contact with South African researchers who announced the new variant.

The global body said there was no sign of changes in the way the virus’ new snoring was carried.

“We are working with them with our SARS-COV-2 virus evolution working group. They are growing the virus in the country and are working with researchers to determine any changes in the behavior of the virus itself in terms of its spread, ”WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told a news conference there and Geneva.

South African health authorities said the new variant appeared to be spreading faster than the previous iteration, but it was too early to say how badly the conventional vaccines would work against it.

“In the UK they have also identified a new variant … there are a number of similarities between the two lines … there are similar mutations as well,” said Dr Tulio de Oliviera, a member of the genomics consortium. government in its televised press release.

Reciting with Mfuneko Toyana and Promit Mukherjee; further statement by Silke Koltrowitz in Geneva; edited by Frances Kerry and Mark Potter