What do we know about the new ‘worst ever’ Covid variant?
UK places South Africa on red travel list over B.1.1.529 variant picked up by scientists in country
What is the new variant and why is it a concern?
Scientists have detected a new Covid-19 variant called B.1.1.529 and are working to understand its potential implications. About 50 confirmed cases have been identified in South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana.
B.1.1.529 has a very unusual constellation of mutations, which are worrying because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists have said. Any new variant that is able to evade vaccines or spread faster than the now-dominant Delta variant might pose a significant threat as the world emerges from the pandemic.