The Israeli Ministry of Health said Friday morning that a new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1529, or the Nu variant, which was first detected in South Africa this week, has been registered in Israel.

The variant was discovered in a person who returned to Israel from Malawi. The ministry said that two other cases, returning from abroad, were suspected of being infected with the variant. Genetic testing is done to determine if the other two people are also infected.

All three people have been vaccinated, and the health ministry said vaccination details are being verified.

The Ministry of Health said it will provide an update as soon as more information is available.

The new variant, which contains 32 mutations in the spike protein and is feared to be able to bypass vaccines and immunity acquired from infection before, has been found in Botswana, Hong Kong and South Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) scheduled a special meeting on Friday to discuss the newly emerging alternative.

This is an advanced story.

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