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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Feb 01, 2024  2 weeks, 5 days, 21 hours, 11 minutes ago

BREAKING COVID-19 News! Researchers Identify A New BA.2 Variant With More Than 100 Mutations In South Africa!

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BREAKING COVID-19 News! Researchers Identify A New BA.2 Variant With More Than 100 Mutations In South Africa!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Feb 01, 2024  2 weeks, 5 days, 21 hours, 11 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: Researchers have identified a new BA.2 variant with alarmingly more than 100 mutations on it in South Africa. On the spike itself there were more than 30 mutations and there were also multiple deletions. Although there are no signs of the widespread dissemination of this new variant, health authorities in South Africa are on high alert.

Updates: This new SARS-CoV-2 variant has now been designated as BA.2.87.
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/debut-of-ba-2-87-and-ba-2-87-1-is-a-warning-that-sars-cov-2-is-evolving-at-an-unprecedented-rate-and-is-heading-towards-worrisome-trajectories


New BA.2 Variant With More Than 100 Mutations In South Africa

To date, 9 sequences of this new worrisome SARS-CoV-2 variant has been found, all originating from South Africa. The samples were obtained from COVID-19 patients from three districts in Limpopo and Gauteng provinces (Capricorn, City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane).
https://github.com/cov-lineages/pango-designation/issues/2484
 
Experts are describing it as the most divergent lineages found for the year.There are also strong suspicions that the new variant could still be spreading silently within the local population.
 
Despite the fact that this variant probably emerged sometime in September to November last year, it does not seem to have been able to compete with the other predominant circulating variants such as JN.1.But again, spawns of it picking up the right mutations could  pose a serious threat.
 
According to the director of CERI (Centre for Epidemic Response & innovation) Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Dr Tulio de Oliveira, many of the mutations found on this new variant were concentrated in important regions of the spike protein.
https://twitter.com/Tuliodna/status/1752996516719997044
 
There were also two large deletions in the antigenic supersite of the N-terminal domain (15-26del and 136-146del).
 
Furthermore, the new variant spotted multiple mutations at important antigenic sites in receptor-binding domain (e.g. K417T, K444N, V445G, L452M, N460K, N481K) and also mutations close to the furin cleavage site (N679R, S691P).
 
He added that there were major rearrangement on the Spike NTD including deletion of both segments of the NTD antigenicity supersite and additional NTD mutations.
 
There was also deletion of the NTD disulphide bond.
 
In term of immune evasiveness, Dr de Oliveira waned that there is likely to be huge compromised issues in terms of protection from previous infections or vaccinations.
 
At this stage there is not much yet that can be said about the transmissibility or pathogenic properties of the new variant.
 
South African health authorities have stepped up testing and also genomic sequencing and are monitoring the situation closely.
 
Interestingly, there has been no COVID-19 News coverages about the COVID-19 situation in South Africa since the later part of last year. It seems there is a deliberate attempt to conceal the actual COVID-19 situation. Comments from local experts there should also be taken with caution as it was they who initiated the narratives that the Omicron variant is mild when the strain emerged despite the fact that the Omicron variant caused the deaths of hundred of thousand globally!
 
The new variant is yet to be designated with an official name.
 
Thailand Medical News would like to add that the BA.2.86 variant and more so the JN.1 variant is rapidly evolving and spawning mutations and sub-lineages that is unprecedented in the annals of virology. While many of these newer sub-lineages lack the right viral fitness to become predominant in circulation, there are the some that are.
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-covid-19-news-new-jn-1-11-that-thailand-medical-news-warned-about-leads-silent-surge-in-india-with-244-cases-detected-so-far
 
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/covid-19-news-jn-1-spawn-jn-1-2-that-spots-the-spike-mutation-m1229i-found-in-infected-minks-likely-to-be-the-next-predominant-variant
 
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/brazilian-news-sound-alarm-about-detection-of-ba-2-86-spawn-jn-2-5-after-the-variant-was-found-driving-covid-19-hospitalizations-in-canada
 
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/covid-19-news-new-jn-2-5-variant-wreaking-havoc-in-mato-grosso-brazil-possivity-test-rates-now-70-3-percent
 
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/covid-19-news-is-the-jn-1-variant-that-is-evolving-rapidly-becoming-possibly-more-pathogenic-jn-1-strains-in-singapore-developing-ns8-s103l-mutation
 
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/covid-19-news-after-jn-1,-expect-new-spawns-jn-1-1,-jn-1-1-1,-jn-8,-jn-9-and-spawns-with-t572i-mutation-to-continuously-reinfect-till-lethal-strain-em
 
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-news-covid-19-hospitalizations-up-by-12-8-percent-in-thailand-while-worrisome-jn-1-spawns-jn-1-4-jn-1-1-3-jn-1-6-debuts-in-the-country
 
There are definitely going to be the emergence of many more sub-lineages this year with worrisome features and properties and off course we can also expect more virulent and pathogenic ones.
 
Thailand Medical News will provide more updates on this new variant as more data emerges.
 
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News
 

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