South African scientists are getting support from the World Health Organization in investigating a new variant of coronavirus.
Scientists have detected the new variant of the coronavirus which is sparking increase in cases across the country.
The new variant was first found in the Eastern Cape province and has since spread to the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The new variant known as 501.V2 was identified by a genomics team led by the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform.
This “501.V2 variant” of the virus has been identified by South African researchers and reported to the World Health Organization, health minister, Zwelini Mkhize, said in a statement.
According to South African authorities, the variant was discovered this month when scientists noticed a number of mutations during routine surveillance of the virus.
Scientists “noticed that a particular variant dominates the results of the last two months,” according to the statement.
Another variant of Coroonavirus has been detected in the United Kingdom but it is reported that the South African new variant is unrelated to the one found in the UK.
Scientists say both variant share one important mutation, which is that the shared mutation affects the way the virus attaches to human cells.
It is also believed that the mutation affects is sparking the faster transmission of this virus.
According to experts it is not yet known how deadly the new variant of the virus is in South Africa.