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SA detects case of COVID-19 variant first discovered in the UK

The announcement of the first local case with the B.1.1.7 variant was made during a WHO Africa press briefing earlier on Thursday.

This handout illustration image obtained February 27, 2020 courtesy of the National Institutes of Health taken with a scanning electron microscope shows SARS-CoV-2 (round blue objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab, SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19, the virus shown was isolated from a patient in the US. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The first known discovery of the coronavirus variant initially identified in the UK has been detected in South Africa.

The announcement of the first local case with the B.1.1.7 variant was made during a WHO Africa press briefing earlier on Thursday.

"We have just reported the first imported case of B.1.1.7, which is the variant of concern in the UK," said Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) director, Professor Tulio de Oliveira..

De Oliveira and his team at KRISP detected the second variant of the coronavirus in December.

"We are still going to have introduction of new lineages and in the case that they come to spread very fast, then we will communicate that it could be a variant of concern."

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