Cases of the new mutation are spreading fast and are being carefully monitored. The new variant has been named C.1.2 and was first identified in South Africa. It has been linked to increased transmissibility.
The deadly new strain could be more infectious than other mutations.
It also could have the attribute of being immune to the effect of present vaccines.
This new mutation was discovered in South Africa in May of this year.
So far the fast-spreading mutation has been identified in England, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.
In a recent report, published in the journal Nature, scientists claimed: “We describe and characterise a newly identified SARS-CoV-2 lineage with several spike mutations that is likely to have emerged in a major metropolitan area in South Africa after the first wave of the epidemic, and then to have spread to multiple locations within two neighbouring provinces.
“We show that this lineage has rapidly expanded and become dominant in three provinces, at the same time as there has been a rapid resurgence in infections.
“Although the full import of the mutations is not yet clear, the genomic and epidemiological data suggest that this variant has a selective advantage —from increased transmissibility, immune escape or both.”
This variant of the COVID-19 virus has a known mutation rate of 41.8 mutations per year.
Other strains of the virus have half this amount of mutations.
Public Health England is currently monitoring ten variants.
The number of cases of this mutation so far are not known, with the figures not yet published.
If this new strain gets a grip hold in the UK it will be moved classified as a variant of concern.
The news comes after a new coronavirus variant, named COVID-22, could be more deadly than the current world-dominating Delta strain.
Immunologist Professor Doctor Sai Reddy, speaking to The Sun, said we “have to prepare” for a new emerging variant in 2022.
Such a strain could pose a “big risk” globally.
The Swiss-based scientist warned it was “inevitable” that variants like the Delta (India), Beta (South African) and Gamma (Brazil) will combine to make a more deadly strain.