The Congolese variant, known by the scientific name B1 640, was first detected in a family in France after returning from a trip to the Republic of Congo.
But if Europe is now discovering this variant with unusual mutations, Congolese scientists discovered it much earlier.
“It is a variant of SARS cov2 responsible for covid-19 that was described in our laboratory at the end of August 2021, and it is a variant that was then detected in other countries” said Francine Ntoumi, President of the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research.
So far eight cases have been detected in the Republic of Congo, and 24 other cases in the rest of the world.
It has been placed under surveillance throughout Europe.
“The diagnostic tests currently used can detect the spike protein, one of the most important proteins that allows entry into the human cell. Indeed, the mutations in this region are very important, but to date, diagnostic tests by PCR or anti-gene tests seem to be able to detect this virus, but it is certain that scientists must continue to work in order to understand whether it escapes certain diagnostic tests or not” concluded the scientist.
Africanews correspondent Cédric Lyonnel Sehossolo adds:
“For the time being, the WHO is reassuring about the virulence of the Congolese variant, but caution is needed because it could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines in Congo”.