A new medical study has reportedly found that that people that were previously infected and recovered from the 501Y.V2 strain of COVID-19, more commonly known as the South African variant, have effectively developed new antibodies that could help them build up immunity to being infected by other variants of the virus. The 501Y.V2 strain gets its name from the fact that it was first discovered in South Africa, where its has wreaked havoc on the country’s population.
Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, South Africa, Blade Nzimande stated that the studies conducted by the country’s scientists have found that the new South Africa variant, clinically classified as 501Y.V2 is capable of generating immune responses that effectively neutralize both itself as well as other lineages of SARS-CoV-2.
South Africa had first reported the discovery and spread of the 501Y.V2 variant of COVID-19 in mid-December of 2020. At the time, the country was going through its second wave, which led to many being infected and losing their lives.
Following the discovery of the new variant, some countries were extremely quick to impose travel bans on all arrivals coming from South Africa. They feared that these arrivals could bring in a new variant, whose severity was yet unknown, to their shores.
Nzimande, hailing the discovery as a highly significant finding by South Africa’s scientists, further stated that the novel scientific discovery implies that the resulting vaccines have a high probability of generating neutralizing agents that can more effectively fight against the existing variant.
As per reports, the study that led to the new discovery was carried out by a group of scientists from a number of different institutions. The group of scientists were led by Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation & Sequencing Platform.
Across the African continent, South Africa has recorded the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths and infections, with over 1,514,815 confirmed cases, 50,271 fatalities, and more than 1,433,320 recoveries. These numbers make South Africa the 16th most-affected nation worldwide.