South African variant: WHO is yet to characterize it as a variant of concern

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the coronavirus variant C.1.2 is not yet considered a variant of concern (VOC).

WHO Technical lead on Covid Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said in a Twitter message there had been 100 sequences of C.1.2 globally, and it does not appear to be in circulation. She said the WHO needs more sequencing to be conducted and shared globally.

“The variant was reported in South Africa and a number of other countries, with concerns that it could be more infectious and evade vaccines, according to a new preprint study by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the Kwazulu-natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform. The study is awaiting peer review Dr. Kerkhove, “an American epidemiologist”, said.

The WHO was monitoring a dozen of variants at the moment, and if any of them were categorized as a variant of concern (VOC) or a variant of interest (VOI).

She said monitoring and assessment of variants are ongoing and critically important to understand the evolution of the virus.

Deputy Director-General of Health Services Dr. Hemanth Herath said Sri Lanka had a mechanism to detect it in case it arrived in Sri Lanka.

“We have our surveillance system in place at Sri Jayewardenepura University for it,” he said. He also said it could spread to other countries before reaching Sri Lanka.

-Daily Mirror

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