Scientists have discovered a deadlier mutant variant of the Covid-19 virus, temporarily named A.VOI.V2 in Tanzanians traveling to Angola.
Kenya now risks being added to the UK’s ‘red list’ where travelers are subjected to a mandatory quarantine. The Kenyan government has been reluctant to close its borders with Tanzania.
The new variant, scientists say, is highly capable of reducing the immunity received from natural infection and vaccination.
A World Health Organisation (WHO) report and regional agencies indicate the new strain is the most mutated, with 10 more mutations than found on any other version of the COVID-19 virus.
“We decided to report this as a new VOI, given the constellation of mutations with known or suspected biological significance, specifically resistance to neutralising antibodies and potentially increased transmissibility,” said Prof de Oliveira, the director of Krisp, a scientific institute carrying out genetic testing for 10 African nations.
However, some virologists note that the number of cases detected is still not very adequate to give a clear picture of whether the new variant is more transmissible, deadlier, or has the capability to reduce immunity.