In the first week of May the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported the first SA cases of a coronavirus variant initially identified in India. According to the NICD early signs of a third wave of infections have been detected in Gauteng.

The variant, known as B.1.617.2, has reached at least 17 countries, from Britain and Iran to Switzerland and the US, triggering global concern as experts worry it contains mutations that may give it an edge over the body’s immune defences.

According to Prof Barry David Schoub, virologist and chair of the ministerial advisory committee on COVID-19, the B.1.617.2 variant is much more sensitive to vaccines than the variant dominating transmissions in SA.

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