4 cases of South African coronavirus variant detected in Israel

One individual returning from South Africa, another infected by family member.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Genetic mutation
Genetic mutation

The Health Ministry Shabbat said four cases of the South African mutation were found in Israel.

The cases are from two separate chains of infection - one from an individual who returned from South Africa and another who was infected by one of the person's family members.

This, after the Ministry Friday said the Infectious Diseases Research Lab at Sheba Medical Center was evaluating the samples of 15 people who returned to Israel from South Africa and who tested COVID-19 positive.

According to the results of a study released in November, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications, the coronavirus mutates rapidly as it spreads around the world, but none of the identified mutations were associated with higher rates of transmission.

Reuters noted that the study commenced this spring and that preliminary results were made public as early as May – and even at that stage, scientists had identified at least 12,706 mutations of COVID-19.

Francois Balloux, a University College London (UCL) professor who worked on the study, said that despite the large number of mutations identified, they did not pose a threat to the efficacy of any potential vaccine for coronavirus. He did admit, however, that once vaccines were introduced into the general population, the virus could adapt more effectively in order to evade the human immune response.