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Thursday, 14 July 2022 23:42

SA records 482 new cases with fears over new Covid Centaurus variant.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), reports 482 new COVID-19 cases that have been identified in South Africa, which brings the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,999,345.

The NDoH reports 8 deaths, of which 3 occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours. The cumulative COVID-19 deaths are 101,915 to date.

Experts meanwhile are concerned about a new variant of Covid that has been identified - and given the codename Centaurus. It comes as nine key symptoms of the virus have been listed and experts explain how to tell the difference between an ordinary sore throat and Covid.

There are concerns about another subvariant of Omicron known as BA.2.75, a variant already nicknamed "Centaurus". Centaurus contains a significant number of mutations.

Dr Stephen Griffin of the University of Leeds said: "This could mean that it has had the chance to evolve an advantage over an already successful virus lineage."

The Centaurus variant was first detected in India in May and is spreading quickly, It has already been detected in the UK - as well as the US, Australia. Germany, Canada and at least four other countries.

The World Health Organisation is closely monitoring the new variant and it has been designated as 'under monitoring' by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, said: “It’s hard to predict the effect of that many mutations appearing together – it gives the virus a bit of a 'wildcard' property where the sum of the parts could be worse than the parts individually."

There are fears Centaurus could become the new dominant strain. Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva said that Centaurus might be more contagious than BA.5 Omicron subvariant given the severe spike of cases in India.

He said it appears to be becoming the dominant strain in India and poses the question of whether it will become the most prevalent one all over the world.