First spotted in South Africa, the C.1.2 variant is potentially more infectious and resistant to antibodies than Delta. Scientists continue to study the variant’s potential to infect the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Scientists first spotted C.1.2 in Mpumalanga and Gauteng, two provinces in Eastern South Africa.
Outside of South Africa, researchers have identified the variant in other African nations, New Zealand, the U.K. and mainland Europe.
Also troubling is that the C.1.2 variant is mutating at a rate of 41.8 mutations annually — 1.7 times the rate of other variants of concern, according to a preprint study published in MedRxiv.
Another MedRxiv preprint, however, estimated that the C.1.2 variant is mutating at the rate of 26.6 substitutions per year.
The former study estimates that the C.1.2 variant is between 44 and 59 mutations removed from the Wuhan Hu-1 viral strain that launched the pandemic.
Still, C.1.2 is not wholly new. It shares several mutations found in the Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma variants of SARS-CoV-2. It also contains mutations found in the Kappa, Eta and Lambda variants of interest.
The CDC listing of SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions currently does not have an entry for the C.1.2 variant.