Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
4 minute read
12 Mar 2021
5:37 pm

SA’s newly detected Covid-19 variants aren’t major cause for concern

Nica Richards

There is no clear evidence that the B.1.1.7 or A.23.1 variants are circulating nearly as widely as 501Y.V2 has in South Africa, but caution is still needed.

File picture. Dr Anike Baptiste, a specialist doctor at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital, gets her injection of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: Jacques Nelles

The discovery that at least two "new" variants of SARS-CoV-2 have crept into South Africa are no cause for immediate concern, but citizens are warned though not to lose their heads, and continue acting responsibly. The emergence of new variants locally have been attributed to factors such as travel and high transmission rates of endemic mutations such as 501Y.V2,  A study published in Nature earlier this week may read as though it is cause for alarm, but KwaZulu-Natal Research and Innovation Sequencing Platform (KRISP) group leader Dr Richard Lessells emphasised that the detection of the two additional variants, B.1.1.7 and...