As the coronavirus crisis continues, The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), has announced that through its collaborative efforts with private laboratories and the NGS-SA members, there’s a new COVID-19 variant named ‘B.1.1.529‘ that has been detected in South Africa.
The NICD reports that so far there are Twenty-two (22) positive cases of variant B.1.1.529 that have been recorded in the country following genomic sequencing collaborations between the NICD and private laboratories.
In addition, other NGS-SA laboratories are confirming more cases as sequencing results come out.
Detected cases and percent testing positive are both increasing quickly, particularly in Gauteng, North West, and Limpopo. Dr Michelle Groome, Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response at the NICD says that provincial health authorities remain on high alert and are prioritizing the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples.
“This means that individuals should get vaccinated, wear masks, practice healthy hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and gather in well ventilated spaces.” She concludes with, “Individual compliance to preventative measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant.”