An entirely new coronavirus variant has been detected, causing concern that it could be more infectious and evade vaccines. The new strain has been dubbed as C.1.2. because it appears to originate from the C1 variant. Nonetheless, this discovery is surprising for researchers as the C.1 variant was first identified back in January.
The bad news is that the new C.1.2 has mutated dramatically, and it appears to be the most different variant compared to the original strain. C.1.2 was detected in South Africa, but it was later found in other countries such as Switzerland, Portugal, New Zealand, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China, and England.
“Here, we report the identification of a potential variant of interest assigned to the PANGO lineage C.1.2. This lineage was first identified in May 2021 and evolved from C.1, one of the lineages that dominated the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa and were last detected in January 2021. C.1.2 has since been detected across the majority of the provinces in South Africa and in seven other countries spanning Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania,” reads the study.
Analysis shows the C.1.2 lineage has a mutation rate of almost 42 mutations a year. This rate of mutation is double compared to the actual mutation rate of other variants. Researchers said that they need to conduct further studies to determine the actual impact of these changes, and draw a comparison between this variant and the Delta one.
The new variant was also detected in Turkey, and it had a rate of almost 60% cases in Rize region. However, it is unclear whether this new mutation is more threatening than the former version of the virus; further investigation will be done to determine the effectiveness of the variant form.