COVID-19 is still very much a part of our daily lives and while vaccinations and other mitigating factors have helped, the world is still in the grips of a pandemic. Earlier this week, a virologist in London discovered the B.1.1.529, raising concerns across South Africa at the moment.
Dr. Tom Peaccok of Imperial College shared his findings via a string of tweets on Tuesday (Nov. 23) and others have chimed in with thoughts from his field of study.
“Just spotted: very small cluster of variant associated with Southern Africa with very long branch length and really awful Spike mutation profile including RBD – K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493K, G496S, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H,” began Peacock’s Twitter thread.
Peacock added, “Worth emphasising this is at super low numbers right now in a region of Africa that is fairly well sampled, however it very very much should be monitored due to that horrific spike profile (would take a guess that this would be worse antigenically than nearly anything else about).”
Peacock urged that those who wish to inquire more should research the findings of Dr. Tulio de Oliveira, the Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response & innovation in South Africa.
The situation is currently being studied and discussed by experts in the field and it isn’t known yet the dangers this could pose to nations outside of South Africa at the moment. Given the fact that many world leaders are contending with a public beset by COVID-19 fatigue and seasonal changes, the potential for more upheaval looms.
An emergency meeting with WHO officials will reportedly take place to address this growing concern.