All viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, change over time. Most changes have little to no impact on the virus’ properties. However, some changes may affect the virus’s properties, such as how easily it spreads, the associated disease severity, or the performance of vaccines, therapeutic medicines, diagnostic tools, or other public health and social measures.

The Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA), which includes the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), KRISP at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), University of Cape Town (UCT), Stellenbosch University (SUN), the University of the Free State (UFS), the University of Pretoria, the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), continue to monitor and assess the evolution of SARS-CoV-2.