South African researchers have detected a new coronavirus variant with multiple mutations but are still monitoring to know if it is more contagious or able to overcome the immunity provided by vaccines or prior infection.
Known as the C.1.2, the new variant which has multiple mutations has not yet been identified as a variant of concern.
Cases of the new variant have been discovered in all South African provinces and seven countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Researchers are currently analysing how the variant responds to coronavirus antibodies and studying its various mutations and means of transmission.
The technical lead on Covid-19 for the World Health Organization (WHO), Maria van Kerkhove, said the variant has not yet increased in circulation.
She said the Delta variant was still very much around and the Health Organisation would inform people if that changes.
South Africa has been badly affected by the pandemic with cases of both the Delta and Beta variants that are highly transmissible.
A total of 2,770,575 coronavirus cases and 81,830 deaths have been recorded in the country.