NUSADAILY.COM -JOHANNESBURG- Scientists are finding new biological evidence that, the so-called South African coronavirus variant binds more easily and strongly to human cells, making it more contagious, local epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim said on Monday.
He revealed this during a research presentation of the variant, known as 501Y. V2, by a team of scientists. The variant was identified by South African genomics experts late last year.
That’s what drove local COVID-19 infections to a new daily peak of over 21,000 cases earlier this January.
British scientists and politicians have expressed concern that vaccines are currently being injected into the public or in less potent development against South Africa’s COVID-19 variant.
The variant has more than 20 mutations, including an increase in proteins that the virus uses to infect human cells.
However, Abdool Karim says there is no answer to the problem yet, although scientists around the world are studying it.
South African experts say that because vaccines produce a broad immune response, it is unlikely that mutations in protein spikes will completely eliminate the effects of the vaccine. (sak/ant)