Coronavirus (1121) WHO: Seven things to know about COVID-19 variants in Africa

24 January, 2021

Extracts from a news item on the WHO Africa Regional Office website (22 January). Full text here: https://www.afro.who.int/news/seven-things-know-about-covid-19-variants-...

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Brazzaville – New COVID-19 variants have emerged in Africa as the continent records a new peak in infections. While virus mutations are not unusual, those that are more infectious are worrisome. Professor Francisca Mutapi, Professor in Global Health Infection and Immunity, University of Edinburgh, explains the implications of SARS-CoV-2 variants and what African countries can do to respond.

Why do viruses mutate, and should we be worried about SARS-CoV-2 variants?...

Mutation, variants, lineages and strains are used quite often. What is the difference?...

How many variants are circulating in Africa and what do we know about them?...

What is the implication of the variants on COVID-19 transmission, therapeutics and vaccines?...

Does vaccine development take virus mutation into consideration?...

Can vaccines be restructured to tackle virus mutations that emerge later?...

What should Africa countries do to better respond to the new variants?... Unless new variants differ significantly in their mode of transmission or their disease course, current mitigation strategies should work across variants. To strengthen their responses to currently circulating SARS-COV-2 variants, African countries need resources and context-specific approaches to implement currently recommended mitigation strategies for infection prevention and control, and patient clinical management.

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Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA project on COVID-19, supported by University of Edinburgh

https://www.hifa.org/projects/covid-19

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org