Health officials warn of 'worrying' new COVID variant

Global health officials are raising concerns after a new variant of coronavirus was discovered in South Africa.

The variant, currently known as B.1.1.529, reportedly has a significant number of mutations that could make it capable of evading immunity.

According to The Guardian, only 10 cases of the variant have been found in three countries. It was first spotted in Botswana, before being found in Soth Africa and again in Hong Kong in a traveller returning from South Africa.

"This one is worrying and I've not said that since delta," tweeted Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases. ""Please get vaccinated and boosted and mask up in public as the mutations in this virus likely result in high level escape from neutralising antibodies."

A COVID variant that resists immunity may be more able to dodge the immune system of people who have either caught the virus once already or been vaccinated against it.

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