Variant Hunters Race to Find New Strains Where Testing Lags

In countries without much sequencing, new versions of the Covid virus can go unnoticed. Scientists across Africa are collaborating to track them down.

In mid-February, three travelers were stopped at the airport in Luanda, Angola. Even during the pandemic, the country, a hub for the oil industry, had seen plenty of passengers from Europe and South Africa, where two concerning variants of the virus that causes Covid-19 hold sway. But the strains weren’t yet circulating widely in Angola, so this winter, health officials battened down the hatches. Before any passports get stamped, travelers receive a rapid antigen test and wait 30 minutes for a result. A negative test means self-quarantine,

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