New coronavirus variant hits South Africa, spreading faster
London, Dec. 18, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The Director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Research Innovation Platform, Professor Tulio De Oliviera, has confirmed that a new variant of the coronavirus has been identified in South Africa and it is spreading rapidly.
This comes as the second wave of the coronavirus sweeps over the country.
Professor De Oliviera was part of the panel hosted by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addressing the media in an online session.
Prof De Oliviera says the new lineage of the coronavirus is dominating new infections in South Africa.
It is believed that the same variant of coronavirus was found and growing faster in some parts of England
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at least 60 different local authorities in the country had recorded Covid infections caused by the new variant.
He said the World Health Organization had been notified and UK scientists were doing detailed studies.
The evidence suggests that that the current #secondwave we are experiencing is being driven by this new variant. Now, more than ever, it’s important that we all follow precautionary methods and play our part in helping to prevent coronavirus transmission. #SARSCOV2MediaBriefing pic.twitter.com/ViVKoYCB0D— NICD (@nicd_sa) December 18, 2020
New research has shown that COVID-19 can affect the brain cells of those infected and its affects remain even after they have recovered, says Professor Tulio de Oliveira, Virologist at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform. https://t.co/hpnW5bVdhb pic.twitter.com/3VKvXlivfn— SABC News (@SABCNews) July 11, 2020
In South Africa, the new variant started spreading in the Eastern Cape and has spread along the Garden Route before spreading to KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town and other parts of the country.
De Oliviera says the new coronavirus has a lot of mutations or changes in its genetic material.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee’s Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who was also part of the panel, says the second wave in the Western Cape is much more than the first wave
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande has committed more money for research into COVID-19.Nzimande says, ” We are truly committed to support the work that is being done. Already a budget has been submitted to us, and Minister Mkhize we can commit R25 million for this work to be done in terms of further research and further studies.”