South Africa, with officials there saying it’s of concern. Fears a new strain could fuel outbreaks in many countries, straining health systems, potentially evading vaccines and complicating efforts to reopen economies and borders, sent a wave of risk aversion across global markets Friday. Here’s what we know so far: What’s different about this variant? Scientists say B.1.1.529 carries a high number of mutations in its spike protein, which plays a key role in the virus’ entry into cells in the body.
It’s also what is targeted by vaccines. Researchers are still trying to determine whether it is more transmissible or more lethal than previous ones. Where did it come from? There’s only speculation so far.