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South African Scientists have Detected a New Coronavirus Variant with Multiple Mutations

They are yet to establish whether it is more contagious or able to overcome the immunity provided by vaccines or prior infection, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has said. The variant, known as C.1.2, was flagged last week by the KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation and Sequencing Platform in a preprint study that has yet to be peer-reviewed. NICD scientists said on Monday C.1.2 was only “present at very low levels” and that it was too early to predict how it might evolve. While the majority of South Africa’s coronavirus cases are currently caused by the Delta variant – first detected in India – C.1.2 caught scientists’ attention because its mutation is almost twice as fast as observed in other global variants. Its frequency remains relatively low, however, and it has so far been detected in less than 3 percent of genomes sequenced since it was first picked up in May – although this has increased from 0.2 percent to 2 percent last month.