Experts identified a new variant — titled A.23.1 — that reveals a troubling sign of what’s possibly to come next
A new COVID-19 variant has been found in Africa, and it offers a troubling sign of what could come from COVID-19 variants in the future.
The new variant — titled A.23.1 — was first discovered in Uganda back in October 2020. Now, it has reached 26 different countries and represents just under 2,000 cases of COVID-19 across the world. Details of the variant were published in the medical journal Nature.
The variant “contains several mutations found in variants of concern as well as six unique substitutions,” according to Forbes.
In fact, it has more connections to the A.30 variant, which was originally found in Angola, and might have originated in Tanzania. Both of these variants don’t share an origin with the other major strains, Forbes reports.
Scientists in Africa are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 variants in the continent. COVID-19 variants continue to emerge from Africa — somewhat because there is low vaccine availability and vaccination rates there — that could lead to a mutation that might evade vaccines, according to Bloomberg.
Per Bloomberg, the scientists — a group of 112 African and 25 international organizations — said that a “slow rollout of vaccines in most African countries creates an environment in which the virus can replicate and evolve. This will almost certainly produce additional VOCs, any of which could derail the global fight against COVID-19.”
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