New Rapidly Mutating Covid-19 Variant With Mutations In Spike Protein Making It Possibly Ineffective Against Covid-19 Vaccines

source – bbc

The new covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 contains a spike protein that differs significantly from the one found in the original coronavirus upon which Covid-19 vaccinations are based.


New Rapidly Mutating Covid-19 Variant With Mutations In Spike Protein Making It Possibly Ineffective Against Covid-19 Vaccines

Britain expressed alarm on Thursday over a newly detected coronavirus variant spreading in South Africa, which might render vaccinations ineffective and jeopardise attempts to contain the pandemic.

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the variant, designated B.1.1.529, contains a spike protein that differs significantly from the one found in the original coronavirus upon which Covid-19 vaccinations are based.

“This is the most significant variant we have encountered to date and urgent research is underway to learn more about its transmissibility, severity, and vaccine-susceptibility," according to UKHSA chief executive Jenny Harries.

Although the variant was detected earlier this week, Britain moved quickly to impose travel restrictions on South Africa and five neighbouring countries, responding far more quickly than it did with the presently prevalent Delta variant.

“What we do know is there's a significant number of mutations, perhaps double the number of mutations that we have seen in the Delta variant," Health Secretary Sajid Javid told broadcasters.

“And that would suggest that it may well be more transmissible and the current vaccines that we have may well be less effective."

source - newsweek

Britain stated on Friday that it will temporarily suspend flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Eswatini, and that British travellers returning from those locations would be quarantined.

Javid said that although further data on the variant was required, travel restrictions were essential as a precaution.

According to scientists, laboratory investigations are required to determine the possibility that the mutations would result in significantly diminished vaccination efficiency.

Earlier on Thursday, South African scientists said that they had identified a novel Covid-19 variant in low numbers and were investigating its possible ramifications.

The variant was also discovered in Botswana and Hong Kong, although the UKHSA reported that no cases had been diagnosed in the United Kingdom.

According to epidemiologist Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, B.1.1.529 contained an “unprecedented" amount of mutations in the spike protein, which was contributing to South Africa's recent rapid surge in case numbers.

“The government’s move to restrict travel with South Africa is, therefore, prudent," he said.

“However, we do not yet have reliable estimates of the extent to which B.1.1.529 might be either more transmissible or more resistant to vaccines, so it is too early to be able to provide an evidence-based assessment of the risk it poses."

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