Tulio de Oliveira, Director of CERI: Center for Epidemic Response & Innovation, South Africa
We have been very transparent with scientific information. We identified, made data public, and raised the alarm as the infections are just increasing. We did this to protect our country and the world in spite of potentially suffering massive discrimination.
This new variant is really worrisome at the mutational level. South Africa and Africa will need support (financially, public health, scientific) to control it so it does not spread in the world. Our poor and deprived population can not be in lockdown without financial support.
This new variant, B.1.1.529 seems to spread very quick! In less than 2 weeks now dominates all infections following a devastating Delta wave in South Africa (Blue new variant, now at 75% of last genomes and soon to reach 100%).
Because this variant (B.1.1.529) can be detected by a normal qPCR due to deletion at Spike position 69-70 (like Alpha), it will make it easy for the world to track it. We estimate that 90% of the cases in Gauteng (at least 1000 a day are this variant, due to qPCR proxy testing).
We are working around the clock to understand effects on 1) Transmissibility, 2) Vaccines, 3) Re-infection, disease severity, and diagnostics. We do have funding for science, but South Africa and Africa need financial help to support their deprived population and health system.
I would like to plea to all billionaires in this world
@elonmusk @BillGates @JeffBezos @DrPatSoonShiong @WarrenBuffett
to support Africa & South Africa financially to control and extinguish variants! By protecting its poor and oppressed population we will protect the world.
I also want to plea to financial organizations
@WorldBank @IMFNews @USAID @PEPFAR @GlobalFund
to support the poor population and governments in South Africa and Africa to control and extinguish variants! By protecting its poor and oppressed population we will protect the world.
Ursula von der Leyen @vonderleyen:
The @EU_Commission will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529.
Blocking flights from any countries is just discriminatory and useless if TTT and isolation is not aggressively enforced everywhere. Nu has been likely cryptically circulating everywhere. We just should thank @Tuliodna and SA team, HK and Botswana Teams for their work.
South African Medical Association’s Dr Angelique Coetzee, dissects the Omicron variant, which has been detected in South Africa and is causing havoc through out the world
How South African Researchers Identified the Omicron Variant of COVID
Tulio de Oliveira talks about discovering the new variant and his opposition to travel bans