On 18 January, South Africa’s Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize hosted an online scientific update with some of the country’s leading researchers to discuss the new Covid-19 variant, 501Y.V2.

Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) Director, Prof Willem Hanekom and Faculty Member Dr Alex Sigal were on the panel of scientists presenting the latest data on 501Y.V2.

Some of the key points discussed by the panellists revealed that although 501Y.V2 does not cause more severe disease than earlier variants, it is spreading around 50% faster and is creating a huge burden on the health system.

Prof Willem Hanekom emphasised the urgency of rolling out vaccines. “A vaccine is critical to saving lives, if I could get the vaccine today, I would take the vaccine today!”

You can watch the webinar below: