What is the C1.2 variant?

The C1.2 variant is a new COVID variant that emerged in South Africa in May 2021. It has not been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “variant of concern” or “variant of interest.” This means that it has not presented a significant concern compared to variants like the Delta variant at this time.

However, scientists are studying the C1.2 variant closely because it has many important mutations that could either lead to a “fitter virus” - more easily spread - or “a weaker virus” - less easily spread - in the words of University of Sydney virologist Dr. Megan Steain.

That said, Dr. Steain states, “C1.2 would have to be pretty good, pretty fit, and pretty fast to outcompete Delta at this stage. I think we’re still very much at a point where this could die out, the prevalence is really low.”

Ultimately, these mutations of the C1.2 variant require time to be studied, and it is too early to make a judgment call on how dangerous the C1.2 variant is.

Last update: September 23, 2021, 03:40pm ET

Science review: GSN, HAY