A newly sequenced virus variant, named C.1.2, has been found to be circulating in several countries across South Asia and the Middle East. Researchers are unsure whether the constellation of mutations will make COVID-19 more infectious or increase its ability to evade immunity. Still, it carries changes that have imparted increased these abilities to other variants. Experts in genetics research are saying that this is a new strain of the coronavirus, and it is very concerning because it has many of the same hallmarks of other variants.
“We are currently assessing the impact of this variant on antibody neutralization following SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa. This variant has been detected throughout the third wave of infections in South Africa from May 2021 onwards. It has been detected in seven other countries within Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. The identification of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants is commonly associated with new waves of infection,” researchers wrote in their report.
There are many variants of the COIVD, but we know most about four main ones. The main known variants of COVID-19 are the following: Alpha or B.1.1.7; Beta or B.1.351; Gamma or P.1; and Delta or B.1.617.2. The Coronavirus C.1.2. is not yet a recognized dangerous strain of coronaviruses, which means that the World Health Organization has not named it as a variant of interest or a variant of concern.
The idea that a virus becomes more aggressive when it contains more mutations is likely. Still, it is not clear whether this is actually the case. A single mutation might not increase the efficiency of a virus, but a combination of mutations could give it exactly what it needs to become more infectious or deadly. Scientists will continue to research the new variant to understand just how dangerous it is.