South Africa’s covid-19 variant found in four other African countries
London, Jan. 22, 2021 (AltAfrica)-The new covid-19 variant detected in South Africa has spread to Botswana, Zambia, The Gambia and Kenya, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Over 3.3 million confirmed #COVID19 cases on the African continent – with more than 2.8 million recoveries & 82,000 deaths cumulatively.
Over 3.3 million confirmed #COVID19 cases on the African continent – with more than 2.8 million recoveries & 82,000 deaths cumulatively.— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) January 22, 2021
View country figures & more with the WHO African Region COVID-19 Dashboard: https://t.co/FKav40Cbdd pic.twitter.com/be9pjMhK5U
The new Covid-19 variant first identified in South Africa last year
The WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, attributed the spread to the movement of people across the continent.
“It may also be that the new strain is circulating in different African countries but have not been identified. We are now working with scientists in different laboratories with the capacity to determine the complete DNA of the virus to boost their surveillance,” Dr Moeti told journalists in a virtual press conference.
Kenya’s Health Director General Patrick Amoth told the BBC that two South African passengers who had travelled to Kenya a month ago had it.
“Through routine testing for anyone coming into the country, we were able to detect the new strain from samples collected. The two men are already back in South Africa,” he said.
South Africa is the country worst-hit by the pandemic in Africa.
A team of researchers from three South African Universities working with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases found that the current vaccines being used may be effective against this new strain.
It’s suspected that the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants could be much more contagious or easy to catch than earlier versions.
All three have undergone changes to their spike protein – this is the part of the virus which attaches to human cells.
As a result, these variants seem to be better at infecting cells and spreading.