South Africa is grappling with a new crisis in the New Year -- the second wave of COVID-19 that is deadlier and more contagious.  

“It is a time we never thought we would experience in our lives,” said Salim Kazi of the Islamic Burial Council. “It is here and it is a reality,” Kazi added, suggesting how the devastating state of affairs and deaths are piquing the anxiety of people. What’s even distressing to note is the very fact that the pandemic has bounced back with double the fury in a country that had successfully defied all odds to combat the spread of the deadly virus. A more dangerous variant of the COVID-19 was discovered by scientists at the start of the year.

As per a report on NBC 29.com, the Islamic Burial Council used to average two COVID-19 funerals per day. Now, the number has shot up to 12, sometimes 14 a day. With the help of samples from newly infected COVID patients across South Africa, genetic sequencing revealed the variant’s exact mutation, suggests the same report.

“So, we can actually see what is going on,” said Tulio de Oliveira at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine. “These cells actually are quite happy and they grow and divide,” Oliveira added, suggesting how the virus targets those cells.

Just as South African scientists alerted the world about the variant found in the country, British scientists too followed suit, only to discover a separate variant sharing one of the same key mutations in their country. “What is not normal is when one variant dominates across a very large geographic region and that is associated with a fast increase of cases,” said de Oliveira as per the NBC29 report, adding, “That is exactly what we are seeing across South Africa and the UK.” 

Incisive research is on at an A Level-3 biosafety lab with the focus on growing live versions of the troubling new COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa. The research, conducted at record speed, is being carried out to gauge the extent to which the pandemic goes next. The results of the on-going search will help determine whether the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against its variant and mutations. Preliminary results point to the fact that antibodies from the first wave of infections will do little good in battling the new variant.

“People have to take lessons from this,” Kazi said, adding, “God is testing everybody.

COVID-19 Coronavirus is spreading worldwide and countries are doing their best to flatten the curve. Photo by: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay