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WHO meets to discuss new, ‘heavily mutated’ COVID-19 variant

WHO meets to discuss new, ‘heavily mutated’ COVID-19 variant

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Friday is the World Health Organization meeting to address the sudden rise in COVID-19 incidences in South Africa. The new virus has been blamed for the increase.

Joe Phaahla, South Africa’s minister of health, identified the new variant as B.1.1.529, and said it seems highly contagious among young people.

BBC reports that this new variant appears to have been the most mutated in the current outbreak. James Gallagher (the health correspondent) wrote that one scientist called the variant “horrific.” The WHO meeting is likely to result in the variant getting a Greek codename similar to the Delta variant.

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“This variant did surprise us,” Tulio de Oliveira, the director of the Center for South Africa’s Epidemic Response and Innovation, told the news outlet. It is a leap on evolution [and]Many more mutations than we anticipated.”

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Health Minister Joe Phaahla  on a site visit  at the Grand West Casino on August 20, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Nature magazine reports that the variant had been first identified in Botswana this month. According to the report, scientists have been trying to figure out if this variant could evade immune responses. One researcher in Johannesburg said, “We’re flying at warp speed.”

 An overview of Discovery Health Covid-19 vaccination site on October 21, 2021 in Sandton, South Africa. (Photo by Papi Morake/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Aris Katzourakis is an Oxford virus expert. He said that “it reduces vaccine effectiveness because there are so many changes.”

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British officials announced Friday that they would ban flights from South Africa, five southern African countries and one other country. Anyone who arrived in those countries recently will be required to undergo a coronavirus testing.

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Sajid Javid (UK Health Secretary) said concerns were being raised about the possibility that this new strain could be “more transmissible” to the delta-dominant strain. He also suggested that “the current vaccines may prove less effective” in combating it.

This article was contributed by the Associated Press

Source: FoxNews.com

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