Home Business Alpha, Delta and More: Why Virus Variants Are Causing Alarm

Alpha, Delta and More: Why Virus Variants Are Causing Alarm


The WHO has highlighted the risk that more variants will emerge given the ongoing high rates of transmission globally. For example, the mu variant identified in Colombia in January was classified as a variant of interest on Aug. 30 because of an assemblage of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape similar to beta. The global prevalence of mu among sequenced cases has declined and is currently below 0.1%, even though its prevalence in Colombia and Ecuador has consistently increased, the WHO said. Also in late August, scientists in South Africa reported a potential variant of interest dubbed C.1.2 that carries “concerning constellations of mutations.” It was first identified in May in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Gauteng, where Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, are situated. By Aug. 13, it had been found in six of South Africa’s nine provinces as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Portugal, New Zealand and Switzerland. Even in South Africa, as of late August, C.1.2 comprised just 2% of the known SARS-CoV-2 variants spreading there.

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