Bay Area health official explains concerns with highly mutated C.1.2 coronavirus variant

SAN FRANISCO (KGO) -- The C.1.2 variant identified in South Africa is raising eyebrows in part because it's highly mutated.

"It has mutations in the sites that may make it replicate more rapidly and it has some other changes that may make it a little more difficult for antibodies to see and find," said Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at UCSF. He says so far it has not outcompeted the delta variant.

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"There are only relatively small numbers and it doesn't seem to have spread much more beyond a handful of cases," he explained.

As for whether this variant might be even more dangerous for anyone not vaccinated, Dr. Rutherford says time will tell.

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Two of California's top doctors predict the Bay Area will be the first major metropolitan area to peak from our fast-growing Delta surge.

"This is all about 'might,' 'maybe,' 'may' -- we just don't know. It's just too early to call," said Dr. Rutherford. "But if you're going to South Africa just make sure you're fully vaccinated," he added.

Could we see C.1.2 here in the United States?

"Anything is possible, but I suspect it'll be outcompeted by the Delta variant and it will not establish itself very broadly," said Dr. Rutherford.

It's another new variant, being watched closely.

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