B.1.1.529: Why the highly mutated variant of the coronavirus found in South Africa is of concern

  • James Gallagher
  • Health and Science Correspondent, BBC News

Virus

Image source, Getty Images

We are back in familiar territory – growing concern about a new strain of the coronavirus.

The latter is the most mutated version discovered so far, and it has such a long list of variations that one scientist described it as “horrible”, while another told me it was the worst variant they had ever seen.

It is early and confirmed cases are still mainly concentrated in one province in South Africa, but there are indications that it may have spread further.

UK authorities decided to take precautions, and travelers from six southern African countries – South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland – will have to be quarantined if they travel to the European nation. Flights from those nations were also suspended.

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