South African Covid Variant
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Health
- The WHO has identified three new variants of coronavirus originating in the UK, Brazil, and now in South Africa.
- Of the three, the latest South African variant known as 20H/501Y.V2 or B.1.351 appears to be more infectious than the original virus.
- This potentially more concerning variant, which has been spotted since December 22 last year and spread to nearly 40 countries including the United States.
- The South African variant carries a mutation called N501Y that appears to make it more contagious or easy to spread.
- This variant “is less susceptible to antibody neutralization” than previous variants.
- This South African variant has become a major cause of worry because of its unusually large number of mutations, especially in the spike protein, which the virus uses to gain entry into the cells within the human body.