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Spread Of C.1.2 COVID-19 Variant ‘Slows Significantly’

7 September 2021

A South African scientist says the spread of the C.1.2 variant of COVID-19, which has recently been discovered in the country, has slowed significantly.

Tulio de Oliveira has produced his findings for the Network for Genomic Surveillance South Africa (NGSSA).

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The leading virologist, who has been at the forefront of genome sequencing since the pandemic began, has revealed that the C.1.2 variant is now spreading slower than it was earlier this winter.

According to de Oliveira, the number of C.1.2 variant sequences dropped from 73 to 12 in August, a six-fold decline on the month before. The proportion of sequences dropped by over a third, too.

After rising to 2.2% in July, C.1.2 lineages only account for 1.5% of discovered cases now – and there’s still no evidence to suggest it "might" evade the impact of our vaccines.

The NGSSA has also shown what C.1.2’s growth rates look like in comparison to the previous variants, of Beta and Delta.

As it looks right now, the supposedly fearsome strain is failing to launch in the same way its predecessors did.

However, there are features of the mutation which require further investigation. 

According to de Oliveira, these are the key details about the latest strain.

  • There are a total of 14 amino acid changes at the Spike protein.
  • That includes the E484K lineage, which can reduce neutralization (Beta).
  • N501Y, H655Y, and P681H – all associated with increased transmission – are also present.
  • Deletions of the 144 and 242-243 lineage have also been detected.
  • However, the C.1.2 variant stills acts and appears like other forms of COVID-19, and isn’t likely to be vaccine-resistant.

More: The South African