The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring a new strain of coronavirus B.1.1.529, recently discovered in Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong. The representative of the organization said.

The WHO noted that at the moment scientists have managed to collect about 100 genetic sequences of the virus of this strain. Preliminary analysis revealed a large number of mutations in it that have to be studied.

At the moment, this type of virus is being investigated by scientists from South Africa and experts of the WHO working group on the evolution of viruses (TAG-VE). The organization will hold a meeting at which it will agree on the schedule of upcoming studies and decide whether the new strain will be recognized as a type of virus of concern.

On November 24, it became known that ten people in South Africa, Botswana, and Hong Kong were infected with the B.1.1.529 strain. British scientists have suggested that the new strain will be better at evading antibodies than the delta variant. The multitude of mutations in B.1.1.529 allows us to assume that the virus originated in a patient with weakened immunity — in a patient with HIV or AIDS. It is assumed that it can become the most dangerous variant of infection.