After the world saw several types of COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant which continues to wreak havoc, another new variant called C.1.2 has been detected in South Africa.
C.1.2 COVID-19 variant was first detected in South Africa in May 2021 and has been detected in at least six countries. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is yet to classify C.1.2 COVID-19 variant as either a ‘variant of interest’ or a ‘variant of concern’.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa sent out an alert about the C.1.2 lineage, saying it had been detected in all provinces in the country, but at a relatively low rate. And, the Delta variant is still the most dominant strain of the coronavirus in the country and the world.
The WHO has said that till date there are 100 sequences of C.1.2 reported globally from the earliest reports from South Africa and currently it does not appear to be “increasing in circulation”.
To date there are ~100 sequences of C.1.2 reported globally, the earliest reports from May ‘21 from 🇿🇦.
At this time, C.1.2 does not appear to be ⬆️ in circulation, but we need more sequencing to be conducted & shared globally. Delta appears dominant from available sequences. pic.twitter.com/GaUqRsUFyv
— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) August 30, 2021
According to a study, yet to be peer-reviewed, the C.1.2 variant could be more infectious and the strain may have a greater ability to evade antibodies. According to the aforementioned study, the C.1.2 lineage has a mutation rate of about 41.8 mutations per year, which is about twice as fast as the current global mutation rate of the other variants.
The new variant has more mutations than other variants of concern (VOCs) or variants of interest (VOIs) detected worldwide so far, researchers said. The mutations N440K and Y449H, which have been associated with immune escape from certain antibodies, have also been noticed in C.1.2 sequences.