She said the Epi team and World Health Organization lab team has been discussing with the World Health Organization virus evolution working group this variant and everything that 'we know about it in terms of transmissibility and any studies that are being done in India as well as in other countries where this virus is circulating.
"We would like to assure the public that the institute is focusing their resources and research efforts towards understanding the variants and what the potential implications are for South Africa", he said.
Cape Town - The detection of new Covid-19 variants is inevitable and as people continue to travel across the world, the variants will continue to spread.
Covid-19 cases and deaths have been hitting records every two or three days.
The most glaring development was that the United Kingdom variant had been detected in a sequence from a community transmission.
The WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan agreed.
They are the first confirmed cases of the variant in the region.
Mass election rallies held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other politicians have for instance partly been blamed by some for the staggering rise in infections.
But even as many in India felt the crisis was over, dropping mask-wearing and other protection measures, the virus was quietly spreading.
Public Health England cited evidence suggesting the variant is "at least as transmissible" as the United Kingdom B.1.1.7 variant, which is believed to spread 50% more easily than the ancestral strain.
"We need everybody's help with this".
The surge in India is frightening not only due to the horrifying number of people who are sick and dying there, but also because the exploding infection numbers dramatically increase the chances of new and more risky variants emerging.
He also asked the authorities concerned to conduct the maximum number of Covid-19 tests in the bordering areas to prevent the transmission of the Indian variant of the deadly virus.
The Indian coronavirus variant has some mutations that potentially could make it resistant to antibodies that are generated by vaccinations, she further added.