Coronavirus

C.1.2 deemed ‘most mutated’ COVID-19 variant by scientists

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South Africa detected the C.1.2 variant, and has since identified it as a potential Variant of Interest (VOI).

Health experts remain keen on the arrival of new COVID-19 variants. Earlier this year, South Africa detected a potential “Variant of Interest,” which officials assigned to the Pango lineage C.1.2.

It has since put global scientists and experts “on alarm,” according to DNA. This comes after a study from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform discovered the potentially much riskier nature of the said strain.

As reported, it appears to be the “most mutated” COVID-19 variant among all. Moreover, scientists deem it to be likely “more infectious” and vaccine-resistant.

The “most mutated” COVID-19 variant

The experts obtained the conclusions from a new study, which has yet to be printed, and awaits peer review. Based on the data, it reportedly shows that the C.1.2 variant “had evolved” from the C.1 strain.

The discovery centers on its mutation, with the scientists noting that it has “mutated substantially” in comparison to the C.1 strain. Also, it entails “more mutations” than any other Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs).

In the figures, the study shows a rate of 41.8 mutations per year. This is reportedly “almost twice as fast as the global mutation rate” seen in other existing variants.

The same experts stated, as well, that the rate is consistent with the evolution of the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma variants. Accordingly, a single evolution event “was behind the faster rate of mutation.”

It can possibly evade existing vaccines

Apart from possibly being “more infectious,” the experts also believe that the C.1.2 variant likely has the ability to evade COVID-19 vaccines. This comes as the strain has shown the N440K and Y449H mutations.

The publication explained that these mutations have links to the ability to resist some types of antibodies, which the vaccines produce. Hence, the scientists believe that the strain “can escape vaccines” developed from either the Alpha or Beta infections.

Despite all the data and conclusions, the experts reportedly said that “more research work” is necessary. They shared the same response when asked whether the variant is more dangerous than the Delta strain.

About the C.1.2 variant

Experts and officials first identified the strain in question in South Africa in May 2021. This was amid the third wave of the pandemic across the country.

The nation has since detected the C.1.2 variant across the majority of the provinces, as per Business Standard. Several other countries have also confirmed the strain’s presence, spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.

Images courtesy of Wall Street Journal/YouTube

Mike Pantoja-Contreras

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Mike Pantoja-Contreras

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