British experts have claimed that a new variant of COVID-19 which has emerged in Botswana is the most mutated version of the deadly virus found so far. The experts said that 10 cases of Botswana strain, which could be worse than Delta variant of COVID-19, have been found so far. It is learnt that the new strain would be named ‘Nu’.
Notably, Botswana variant has been spotted in three countries so far, which means that this deadly variant is more widespread. The Botswana variant of COVId-19 carries 32 mutations, many of which is highly transmissible and vaccine-resistant.
Professor Francois Balloux, a geneticist at University College London, stold Dailymail that it is likely that the new variant emerged in a lingering infection in an immunocompromised patient.
The new variant has some changes in its spike and that’s why the current vaccines would find it tough to control this variant.
Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College, said the combination of mutations found in the Botswana variant is ‘horrific’. He added that B.1.1.529, the scientific name of Botswana variant, could be be ‘worse than nearly anything else about’ — including the highly transmissible Delta strain.
Scientists, however, noted that since the Botswana variant has high number of mutations this would make it ‘unstable’ and prevent it from becoming widespread.
They said there was ‘no need to be overly concerned’ because it is still not confirmed that the Botswana variant was spreading rapidly. Three cases of Botswana infection have been detected in Botswana so far and six in South Africa. One case has also been spotted in Hong Kong. There are no cases in Britain.