Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, says the latest scientific results on the COVID-19 501.V2 variant is a highly significant fight by South African scientists in the fight against the pandemic.
Nzimande made the remarks on Wednesday during a virtual media briefing on the latest scientific results on the COVID-19 variant, held on Wednesday.
Professor Tulio de Oliveira, from the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), said South Africa has the scientific tools to evaluate new variants and effects on neutralisation and vaccines.
Welcoming the latest development, Nzimande said the Department of Science and Innovation is really committed to continue investing and supporting and finding genomics because the study of genes, genetic makeups is a very important subject.
“Globally, the region that has studied most genetic, its genetic [variation] is Europe and least studied region is the African Continent yet, scientific evidence points out that Africa possible has got the single most concentration of genetic variations in the world.
“It’s clear that as South Africa we are really in a position if we can put in more resources into doing genomics which will help us in future to deal with not just COVID-19, but other pandemics, as scientists are telling us that we’ve entered an age of pandemics, and that we would be lucky if we finish the next 10 years without another pandemic,” said Nzimande.