Photo courtesy of The East African
There is a new mystery variant of Corona Virus-specific to Kenya. The new variant strain yet to be named is said to consist of two variants both the Indian and Uk strain. This new variant still needs further characterisation and therefore scientists are still sequencing to find out whether it truly falls under the variants concern,” said Dr Francis Kuria, the director of public health at the ministry.
From my perspective, having two variants in one strain could be lethal. Firstly each variant is completely different from the other. Secondly, each variant act in a different way certain COVID variants spread faster than others, therefore each variant has a different effect and it is difficult to establish whether different vaccines might be against them.
The variant was discovered on 17 May from a routine sample in Kisumu. Since the new strain is a product of local transmission more vigilance is required. It is hard to determine whether the new strain is responsible for the increasing number of cases in the city.
Prof Matilu Mwau, a researcher at Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) said it is normal for viruses to mutate and that no one should be surprised if countries are discovering new variants. Ordinarily, Kenyans would think that if a new variant has been identified, then it should be lethal but that is not the case,” he said, adding that there is more to a strain before it is classified as a variant of concern.
Since Covid 19 was discovered so far there have been four variants of concern globally. Indian, UK, South African and Brazilian. The Indian variant has been identified to spread faster than the others. Except for the Brazilian variant, the other three variants of concern have been identified in the country. counties that have these variants are experiencing community transmissions and with these high transmission rates, there is an upsurge of cases.
These new strain off Covid 19 should be taken seriously.