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New Coronavirus Variant a ‘Serious Concern’ in South Africa

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  • Scientists say mutations clearly differ from earlier versions
  • WHO officials meeting to discuss development as cases rise
U.K. Bans Some African Flights Over Virus Variant

Scientists in South Africa are studying a recently identified new coronavirus variant of concern, stoking fears the country may face a potentially severe fourth wave that could spread internationally.

The new discovery, called B.1.1.529 until a Greek letter is assigned to it by the World Health Organization, carries an unusually large number of mutations and is “clearly very different” from previous incarnations, Tulio de Oliveira, a bio-informatics professor who runs gene-sequencing institutions at two South African universities, said at a briefing on Thursday.