Inside SA leg of Omicron variant discovery: A single test result, a missing gene, and an email

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A general view of Lancet Laboratories in Century City. (Photo by Gallo Images/ Jacques Stander)
A general view of Lancet Laboratories in Century City. (Photo by Gallo Images/ Jacques Stander)

The story: A scientist at a Lancet Laboratories facility in Pretoria first noticed anomalies in routine Covid-19 testing data on 4 November, sparking a chain of events that has impacted the world.

What happened next: Within two weeks, another senior Lancet employee sequenced positive Covid-19 samples and confirmed a new variant was circulating.

New variant: They identified from a small clue, the Omicron variant, yet Lancet Laboratories was unrepresented at the official announcement on Thursday.

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