- Australia prepares to ban flights from affected countries
- UK Health Security Agency said B.1.1.529 has more than 30 mutations — most ever recorded in a variant
- Combination of strains suggest it could be more vaccine resistant and transmissible than any version before
- Caused an ‘exponential’ rise in cases in South Africa, already spread to three countries – including Hong Kong
- Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australia was ‘well prepared’ for any spread of the variant in this region
Published: 09:46 AEDT, 26 November 2021 | Updated: 11:44 AEDT, 26 November 2021
Scientists tonight sounded the alarm over a new ‘worst-ever’ super-mutant Covid variant that will make vaccines at least 40 per cent less effective, as Australia said it will monitor its progress ‘very carefully’.
Experts explained earlier how the B.1.1.529 variant has more than 30 mutations – the most ever recorded in a variant and twice as many as Delta – that suggest it could be more jab-resistant and transmissible than any version before it.
The variant – which could be named ‘Nu’ by the World Health Organization in the coming days – has caused an ‘exponential’ rise in infections in South Africa and has already spread to three countries – including Hong Kong and Botswana, where it is believed to have emerged.
The Federal government is monitoring the progress of the variant and could ban flights from the affected African countries.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Friday morning that the variant was under investigation but ‘not a variant of concern’.
‘But that can change,’ he said.
‘We monitor all of these variants. We note the responses that are made by other countries and we consider those in real-time.’