South Africa Reports New ‘Severe’ Covid Strain

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SOUTH Africa reports a new ‘severe’ strain of Covid-19

South African health minister Zwelini Mkhize reported on Friday, December 18 that a new, more severe variant of Covid-19, known as the 501.V2 Variant, has been detected in younger people and he has notified the World Health Organisation. A team led by the Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) provided the report.

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Mr Mkhize said it “noticed that a particular variant has increasingly dominated the findings of the samples collected in the past two months”.

That “strongly suggests that the current second wave we are experiencing is being driven by this new variant,” Mr Mkhize concluded.


The WHO said it was working closely with South Africa to examine the new phenomenon.

“We are working with them with our SARS-COV-2 Virus evolution working group,” WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told a news conference in Geneva.


“They are growing the virus in the country and they’re working with researchers to determine any changes in the behaviour of the virus itself in terms of transmission.”

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