The world’s most mutated coronavirus variant has been found in travelers from Tanzania, according to a new analysis. A recent report submitted to the WHO and regional bodies showed that the strain has ten more mutations than found on any other version. Tulio de Oliveira, director of the Krisp scientific institute, said the discovery by the institute that carries out genetic testing for 10 African nations found the new variant in travelers arriving in Angola from Tanzania.
Tanzania had also stopped releasing data on coronavirus infections and opened its economy including the resort island of Zanzibar, which attracts several international tourists. In April 2020, Magufuli even declared Tanzania “coronavirus-free”. Now, observers are keen to see whether Mugufuli’s successor Samia Suluhu Hassan will take measures like mandating mask-wearing or ordering vaccines to try to halt the spread of the pandemic.
According to our reporters, the Krisp institute, which discovered a new strain in South Africa last year, said that they will continue to analyse the variant to examine how it interacts with antibodies. Currently, very little is known about the virus in Tanzania, whose late COVID-19 sceptic leader, President John Magufuli, died earlier this month. It is worth noting that Magufuli had repeatedly played down the threat of the virus and refused to order measures widely adopted across the world such as mask-wearing and lockdowns.
Tanzania variant’s roots traced to China
Variants of coronavirus have caused concern among health experts around the globe as the first identified in South Africa has proven to be more infectious and able to more easily evade some vaccines. Scientists have yet to investigate the strain found in three Tanzanian travelled to find if it is more infectious or severe than other variants. As per reports, the Krisp analysis said that the Tanzania variant comes from a lineage of the virus first identified in China whereas many others trace their roots to Europe.
Meanwhile, the latest discovery of a new coronavirus strain comes after India announced that it had detected a new “double mutant variant”. The Health Ministry revealed that the Genome sequencing by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) has detected coronavirus variant with ‘double mutation’. Doctors in India have noted that mutations in rapidly spreading viruses are common but also alerted that it is a matter of concern but not panic.