Sep, 2021 - By WMR
A team of researchers from South Africa after continual genomic surveillance of the SARS-CoV-2 strains identified new sequences in South Africa, which are distinct from C.1.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first reported in Wuhan, China in 2019 and eventually circulated across the globe. Owing to the continual evolution of the virus, many variants such as Alpha, Beta, Delta, Lambda, and others have evolved. Some of the variants such as Alpha and Delta are more infectious in comparison to the original strain of the virus. Moreover, based on clinical and epidemiological profiles of the virus, newly emerging variants are categorized either as variants of interest (VOI) (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta) or variants of concern (VOC) (Eta, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda). In this context, it is important to note that VOI such as Alpha, and Delta have been reported to have maximum effect on the population across the countries such as South Africa, India, and others. Thus, close monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 virus and its emerging variants is important alongside mass vaccination campaigns for proper management of the pandemic. In the current study, the researchers studied the mutational profiles of the newly identified sequences and older C.1 sequences in South Africa. They even compared these two sequences and observed that the newly identified sequences had D614G mutation within the spike. The researchers on July 22, 2021 assigned these newly identified sequences to PANGO lineage C.1.1. They even revealed that C.1.2 is highly mutated in comparison to C.1. They even added that C.1.2 resembles the Lambda variant. This lineage was first reported from the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa in May, 2021 and by August 13, 2021, this lineage was detected in majority of the provinces in South Africa.
The researchers revealed that C.1.2 has additional mutations in comparison to C.1 and majority of mutations occurred in the spike protein. They added that around 50% of C.1.2 contain 14 mutations. The researchers are trying to determine the impact of C.1.2 lineage on neutralizing antibodies which are generated either by vaccination or through natural infection in the South African population.