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New Covid-19 variant could show immune evasion and enhanced transmissibility

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(CNN) South Africa’s health minister announced Thursday the discovery of a new coronavirus variant that appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of the country.“Initially it looked like some cluster outbreaks, but from yesterday, the indication came from our scientists from the Network of Genomic Surveillance that they were observing a new variant,” Minister of Health Joe Phaahla said, stressing that it is currently unclear where the variant — currently dubbed B.1.1.529 — first emerged.It has so far been detected in South Africa, Botswana and in a traveler to Hong Kong from South Africa, Phaahla added.During a news briefing, genomic scientists said the variant has an unusually high number of mutations, with more than 30 in the key spike.

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