Delta has proven to be much more contagious and easier to transmit than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain and has been the leading cause of infections in recent months.
In the US alone, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (DCD) warns Delta has emerged as the “predominant variant of the virus”.
According to Richard Lessells, one of the study’s authors, the new variant’s emergence is evidence “this pandemic is far from over and this virus is still exploring ways to potentially get better at infecting us”.
The good news is, the virus has not yet been flagged by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a cause for concern.
The C.1.2 variant only accounts for a small share of South Africa’s total infections and more work needs to be done to better understand how its mutations affect its behaviour.
It is estimated the variant only accounted for about 0.2 percent of analysed coronavirus genomes in May this year.