Is C.1.2 coronavirus variant dangerous and resistant to vaccines? Expert answers
- There’s no need to panic as C.1.2 variant has not spread enough yet, said the expert
- The existing WHO-approved vaccines provide protection from all other SARS-CoV-2 variants
- The WHO has not yet listed C.1.2 as Variant of Interest
The emergence of the C.1.2 variant of the COVID-19 causing coronavirus in South Africa has become a matter of worry for people across the world leading to several pertinent questions about its transmissibility, mutations and whether or not it is deadly. The C.1.2 variant is believed to be the most mutated version of coronavirus found so far. However, for a world still reeling with the aftermath of previous coronavirus waves and constantly rising infections, every new variant seems bad news.
Addressing the hue and cry about the new variant, a virologist has answered all the questions and concerns about the C.1.2 variant of the virus.
Is there a need to panic?
There’s no need to panic. The C.1.2 might be the most far away mutation of the coronavirus but that's what the virus does. It is natural for viruses to mutate and so far there has been no evidence if it's more transmittable.
The tools the world has today in place work against SARS-CoV-2, whatever the variant, the expert told PTI. We will soon have a better understanding of the virus, till then sensationalism and panic is not going to solve anything.
Also, the C.1.2 variant has not spread enough yet. It represents less than 5% of new cases in South Africa, and has only been found in around 100 COVID cases worldwide since May.
Will it be more infectious or severe?
C.1.2 is distinct from but on a genetic branch near the Lambda variant, which is common in Peru. However, we need more data and study to comment on its nature in terms of communicability and severity.
It has some concerning individual mutations. But we don’t know how these mutations will work altogether, and we can’t predict how bad a variant will be based on mutations alone.
"We need to see how a certain variant works in humans to give us an idea of whether it’s more transmissible, causes more severe disease or escapes the immunity we get from vaccines more than other variants," PTI quoted the expert as saying.
Will it overtake other variants?
Since the variant is in its early days, so it’s impossible to predict what will happen to C.1.2. It might expand and overtake other variants, or it could fizzle and disappear.
But only because a virus has a bunch of mutations, it doesn’t necessarily mean the mutations will work together to out-compete other variants.
Do vaccines work against the C.1.2 variant?
As of now, there is no evidence that existing vaccines don’t work against it.
The existing WHO-approved vaccines provide protection from severe disease and death against all other SARS-CoV-2 variants thus far and there’s a good chance they’ll continue to do so against C.1.2 variants.
Vaccination remains our best single tool The chances of new variants arising increases the more the virus spreads.
The C. 1.2, first identified in May in South Africa is assigned to the PANGO lineage C.1. The WHO has not yet listed it a variant of Interest and further studies are underway.