Latest tracking data on the B.1.1.529 variant suggests that it may be 500% more infectious than Delta.
B.1.1.529 variant is super infectious, scientists find
Dr Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), is one of the earliest to sound the alarm bells on the new COVID-19 super variant.
In a series of tweets, Feigl-Ding showed graph models that detail the competitive advantage B.1.1.529 has over other COVID-19 variants, and while Delta, the strain responsible for the severe third wave felt in South Africa earlier this year, held a 70% advantage, the new super variant broke through the scale with a scoring of 500%.
In another graph that tracked the spread of the Beta, Delta and B.1.1.529 variant over a 100-day period since emergence, the new super variant, in less than a month since it was discovered, has already outcompeted its predecessors.
While global virologists and epidemiologists are hard at work to get a clearer understanding of the threat that lingers, the little that’s already known has sparked a worldwide panic that saw the United Kingdom act swiftly in placing a travel ban on South Africa and five other countries.
A great deal of concern, according to Dr Feig-Ding, is the fact that based on available data, it seems the super variant has twice the number of bad mutations than Delta.
⚠️My god—the new #B11259 variant being possibly ~500% more competitively infectious is the most staggering stat yet. Also, #NuVariant has more than >2x the number of bad spike mutations than Delta. Here’s an updated 🧵👇— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) November 26, 2021
Model by @JPWeiland matches up with graph by @jburnmurdoch pic.twitter.com/SFvFEbD7QO
The South African government, at this time, has taken no action in placing lockdown restrictions, albeit Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla did indicate that high-level meetings are taking place this weekend to mitigate the crisis.