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South African scientists detect new virus variant amid spike

FILE - A  young woman reacts as she receives a Pfizer jab against COVID-19, in Diepsloot...
FILE - A young woman reacts as she receives a Pfizer jab against COVID-19, in Diepsloot Township near Johannesburg Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. A new COVID-19 variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country's most populous province, Minister of Health Joe Phaahla announced Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)(Denis Farrell | AP)
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 7:52 PM CST
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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A new coronavirus variant has been detected in South Africa that scientists say is a concern because of its high number of mutations and rapid spread among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla announced Thursday that South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new cases, adding that the new variant appears to be driving the spike.

He said the new variant, currently identified as  B.1.1.529, has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong, in travelers from South Africa.

The WHO’s technical working group is to meet Friday to assess the new variant and may decide whether or not to give it a name from the Greek alphabet.

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