Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa has roped in Brics scientists to work on the research on the virus as the fight against Covid-19 and its variants rages on.
The world is currently gripped by Omicron, which has spread to different parts of the world.
The presidency announced on Friday that Brics countries including Brazil, Russia, India and China would work on this research on the virus.
This is informed by its mutation and other characteristics.
Professor Kholeka Mlisana, who chairs the Ministerial Advisory Council on Covid-19, will lead local scientists in this research work with fellow Brics scientists.
Ramaphosa said sharing information on Covid-19 and research was key to fighting the virus.
He said scientific research was also important because this was a global battle in the health sector and scientists from the Brics bloc would be able to make progress in this area.
“The spread of the different Covid-19 variants to all corners of the earth underlines the importance of effective surveillance, scientific transparency and collaborative research. Every country is affected and every country must be able to develop responses based on sound scientific evidence,” said Ramaphosa.
“The collaboration among Brics countries is intended to broaden our knowledge of the Covid-19 virus, not only for the benefit of member countries, but for the global community more broadly,” he added.
South Africa is hosting the Brics vaccine research centre and Omicron will be part of this research project.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said the new variant was still being studied by local scientists.
This was due to the fact that those who have been hospitalised had experienced mild symptoms. It was also still to be determined if it was more transmissible compared to the Delta variant.