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B.1.1.529 expected to make up 100% of cases in SA soon – Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos asked to help

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South African health and scientific authorities publicly confirmed the emergence of a new variant of concern – B.1.1.529 – on Thursday, 25 November.

 Professor Tulio de Oliveira said the country was very transparent with its scientific information about the new variant and said it should not be discriminated against or isolated.


De Oliveira, who is the Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), described B.1.1.529  as a “variant of great concern,” adding that South Africa and the continent at large should be protected and supported.

“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,” said the Professor.


The variant is particularly concerning to scientists because of its high number of mutations. Although the authorities are uncertain about the full significance of the variant, it is predicted to have enhanced transmissibility and significant immune evasion.

“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%),” said de Oliveira, explaining the graph below.

B.1.1.529 dominance. Graph: NICD.


In his plea, the Professor called on billionaires and financial institutions to support the country and continent. He said we will need financial, public health and scientific support to control the spread of the variant, which is yet to be assigned a Greek letter.

While South Africa has funding for science, according to de Oliveira, it needs financial help to support the population and healthcare system. “Our poor and deprived population cannot be in lockdown without financial support.”

“I would like to plea to all billionaires in this world Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Dr Pat Soon-Shiong and Warren Bufett to support Africa & South Africa financially to control and extinguish variants! By protecting its poor and oppressed population we will protect the world,” said de Oliveira.

He also extended his plea to financial institutions, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

READ: South Africa to be added to UK red list again over B.1.1.529

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