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Why scientists are concerned about SA's 'unusual’ new coronavirus variant

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South African scientists have discovered a new coronavirus variant that could mean more people are infected in the country's second wave than in the initial surge.

While there is as yet no proof that the new variant is more deadly, it seems to be spreading faster – and there is concern that its mutations could have an impact on vaccine efficacy, although this is also as yet unproven.

The variant was found by genomics scientists from across the country, who have been analysing the genetic samples of the virus since the start of the pandemic, under the auspices of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP).

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