COVID-19 variant mutating at an alarming rate: Scientists

investigators 1 - COVID-19 variant mutating at an alarming rate: Scientists

Scientists have expressed concern over the rapid manner in which the new variant of the coronavirus transfers among people saying the South African variant is mutating at an alarming rate.

This after the Health Department reported a record daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases of over 14 000  infections in the past 24-hours.

This is South Africa’s highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic – with the last record of 13 944, being registered in July.

411 people have died from COVID-19 related illnesses overnight, bringing the total number of fatalities to 25 657.

Virologist, Tulio de Oliveira, says there are concerns that South Africa is not testing enough for the virus.

“It’s very concerning. What we have is a positivity rate of the testing at 26 percent. What that means is every four tests that we do, one is positive. The UK got very worried and they decided to make stronger interventions when the positivity rate passed 1 percent. So what we are seeing in SA in the number of infections is just the tip of the iceberg because we are not testing very widely and a quarter of our testing can be positive.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has sought to explain how the COVID-19 variant, found in South Africa, rapidly transmits among people saying the mutation likely assists the coronavirus to bind to human cells.

The virus mutation in the spike protein known as N501Y- latches easily on to and enters human cells, causing health complications.

There are strong suspicions that the variant may be spreading faster than expected, with officials pleading with the public to ensure they take extra precautions against contacting the virus.

Scientists have warned that the number of coronavirus cases across South Africa is likely to be much higher than the reported figure saying the country is not conducting enough tests for COVID-19.

The Health Department has expressed concern over the record daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases after South Africa reported over 14-thousand infections in the past 24-hours.

The Department says it’s evaluating the alarming rise in coronavirus infections across South Africa and is considering making further restriction recommendations for hotspot areas.

Latest SA stats below:

 

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