Sumary of A heavily-mutated Covid variant emerges in southern Africa: Here’s what we know so far:
- A man enters the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) on June 15, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Sean Gallup | Getty ImagesThe World Health Organization will meet on Friday to discuss a new heavily-mutated variant of Covid-19.The variant known as B.
- 1.1.529 has been detected in small numbers in South Africa, WHO officials said.
- South African scientist Tulio de Oliveira said in a media briefing held by the South Africa Department of Health on Thursday that the variant contains more than 30 mutations to the spike protein, the component of the virus that binds to cells.
- Many of these mutations are linked to increased antibody resistance, which may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines and affect how the virus behaves with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility, health officials have said.
- Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, said in a livestreamed Q&A that scientists “don’t know very much about this yet” and that it would take a few weeks to gain a full picture of how the variant reacts to existing vaccines.