There’s a new coronavirus variant making the news as concerns for public health rise. The C.1.2 variant is the latest of several Covid-19 variants, appearing first in South Africa and now in several other countries. Should you be concerned about the new variant? How can you protect your own health? Here’s what you need to know.
What We Know About the C.1.2 Variant
The C.1.2 variant has evolved from another variant – C.1. The original variant was largely responsible for South Africa’s first wave of Covid-19. Presently, C.1.2 has caused 114 cases in South Africa, as well as four other cases occurring in other African countries. The variant has also caused several cases in countries in Asia, Europe, and the Pacific.
The first reports of C.1.2 appeared in South Africa in May of this year. Genetics researchers have been closely monitoring the variant, which contains mutations that have been found in other concerning variants – Delta, Gamma, Alpha, and Beta. Since the mutations that C.1.2 shares with the other variants make the virus more transmissible, there is some concern for public health.
Although we are keeping track of this new variant, it isn’t on the World Health Organization’s list of recognized variants of concern (VOC.) The list includes:
- Beta B.1.351, (detected May 2020 in South Africa)
- Alpha B.1.1.7 (detected September 2020 in the U.K.)
- Delta B.1.617.2, (detected October 2020 in India)
- Gamma P.1, (detected November 2020 in Brazil)
Should You Be Concerned About C.1.2?
Although C.1.2 is more transmissible due to its mutation, it is not necessarily more dangerous. Very few cases are contributed to the new variant and it has not yet been deemed a variant of concern.
However, the mutations of this specific variant are notable. Not only is it more transmissible, but it also includes the coronavirus spike protein, which has made other variants more successful at overcoming immune protection given to us by natural immunity or by vaccination.
With that said, it’s also important to note that the combination of mutations in C.1.2 may also be the reason it doesn’t become a VOC. Some mutations do better for the virus in the real world than others, and the cases of C.1.2 are so few that we are still studying and learning about it.
For now, C.1.2 hasn’t reached a level where you should be concerned for your health or the health of the public. It’s something to watch, but we’re still waiting to see what happens.
To protect yourself against C.1.2, you should continue the same health protocols that have been in effect since the beginning of the pandemic. Wear a mask in public and socially distance where possible. Getting vaccinated is the best protection against any variant.