The new coronavirus variant detected in SA in mid-December is about 50% more transmissible than older lineages but there is no evidence that it leads to more severe disease, one of health minister Zweli Mkhize’s top scientific advisers said on Monday.

However, scientists remain concerned about the capacity of the new variant, dubbed 501Y.V2, to render Covid-19 vaccines less effective because new research has found antibodies from a high proportion people who have previously been infected during SA’s first coronavirus wave were unable to neutralise it, said Salim Abdool Karim, who co-chairs the ministerial advisory committee on Covid-19...

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