Coronavirus 'mutations of concern' found in Bristol and Liverpool

Friday, 05 Feb, 2021

Health authorities have found more than 100 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, prompting a scramble to deploy new testing initiatives across eight areas in England. According to some researchers, this mutation may help the coronavirus to escape parts of the immune system called antibodies.

The E484K mutation has now been found in 11 B.1.1.7 viruses according to the latest PHE research.

The government is also stepping up its door-to-door testing drive, which is now underway in eight postcodes where the South African variant has spread.

"It does not mean that this mutation is present in all versions of this variant".

MENAFN provides the information "as is" without warranty of any kind. Notably, the spike protein is also the part of the virus targeted by Covid-19 vaccines and antibody treatments.

The new strain was registered in South Africa in October 2020.

Professor Martin Michaelis, virologist and professor of molecular medication at the University of Kent, defined the E484K mutation additional.

One year down the line since the COVID-19 outbreak, it is known that there is not just one strain of SARS-CoV-2 but many strains have been identified with multiple mutations.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Door-to-door Covid-19 testing launched in England after South African virus variant identified

The UK variant of the coronavirus has developed a new, concerning mutation in a small number of cases, which scientists said makes it similar to the South African and Brazilian variants and could reduce the efficacy of vaccines.

In early January, a variant called P.1 was found in travellers from Brazil during routine screening at an airport in Japan.

Clinical trials for two coronavirus vaccines - Novavax and Johnson & Johnson - have shown the jabs offer some protection against variants with the E484K mutation. "Our work suggests the vaccine is likely to be less effective when dealing with this mutation", Ravindra Gupta, the co-author of the study, said.

"Until more people are vaccinated this is the only way we will control the spread of the virus".

Sweden, which has spurned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, has seen the rate of new infections dip in recent weeks, though cases of the British COVID-19 variant have been increasing. The E484K mutation that occurred spontaneously in Britain has already been reported in a technical briefing published by Public Health England, but this paper has not been widely noticed outside scientific circles.

"This change isn't present in all B.1.1.7 variants but has arisen in a few cases probably as a effect of immune selection".

Once completed and collected by the volunteers, who are working in pairs, the tests are sent to a laboratory to be examined for the South African strain.

"This is a concern".