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Fast epidemic growth of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in southern Africa


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This manuscript has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in Nature and is offered on this format right here as a response to the distinctive public-health disaster. This accepted manuscript will proceed by means of the processes of copy enhancing and formatting to publication of a finalized model of file on nature.com. Please word there could also be errors current on this model, which can have an effect on the content material, and all authorized disclaimers apply.

The extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic in southern Africa has been characterised by three distinct waves. The primary was related to a mixture of SARS-CoV-2 lineages, while the second and third waves have been pushed by the Beta and Delta variants, respectively1–3. In November 2021, genomic surveillance groups in South Africa and Botswana detected a brand new SARS-CoV-2 variant related to a speedy resurgence of infections in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Inside three days of the primary genome being uploaded, it was designated a variant of concern (Omicron) by the World Well being Group and, inside three weeks, had been recognized in 87 international locations. The Omicron variant is phenomenal for carrying over 30 mutations within the spike glycoprotein, predicted to affect antibody neutralization and spike operate4. Right here, we describe the genomic profile and early transmission dynamics of Omicron, highlighting the speedy unfold in areas with excessive ranges of inhabitants immunity.

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