The virus that was reported in China in December 2019 has now mutated into several new strains increasing infections in many parts of the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO), has so far reported new strains of COVID-19 in Denmark, UK, and South Africa. Recently, Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Diseases also said a new strain of the virus was present in the country.
The Denmark “Cluster 5”
In August and September 2020, a new strain linked to infection among farmed mink was discovered in North Jutland, Denmark. Danish authorities named the virus “Cluster 5”, and said it had been transmitted to humans. However, till date, only 12 human cases of the “Cluster 5” variant have been reported. The variant is said to not have widely spread .
The UK variant
U.K. health officials reported a new variant on Dec. 14, 2020. It has formally come to be known, as “VOC 202012/01″ (which stands for “variant of concern, year 2020, month 12, variant 01”). This variant has equally been detected in California, and some parts of the US.
The “VOC 202012/01” was first detected in a patient in Kent, southeast England, in September. It quickly spread to London in less than no time, and infections surged in both regions. Analysis from health experts suggested the virus could be 70% more transmissible than the old variant that was circulating in the country.
Daily cases of infections went up to over 50,000, and many countries placed a ban on flights from the UK.
“501Y.V2” in South Africa
Shortly after discovering the UK strain, came that of South Africa. The country’s authorities announced on Dec. 18 that a new mutation had been detected known as “501Y.V2”. The variant was rapidly spreading in Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal. The “501Y.V2” has now become the country’s dominant strain of the coronavirus. This strain is also found in the new U.K strain, and scientists say it could be more transmissible, and resistant to vaccines.
The US recently said a suspected new strain of the Coronavirus could be circulating in the country. Early in the new year, the White House Coronavirus task force warned that there could be a new, more transmissible variant of the virus in the U.S.
Same old strain in Cameroon
No new strain of the deadly Coronavirus has been reported in Cameroon. The country is still dealing with the old strain which recently infected 1607 persons, and killed 7 others in just one week.
Although the Public Health minister says the surge in cases is not directly linked to the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN), popular opinion holds that more infections could be recorded during the three-week tournament.
In a recent tweet, Dr. Manaouda Malachie called for the respect of preventive measures, especially wearing masks which has nearly become optional.
Kathy Neba Sina