UK Coronavirus Variant Develops Vaccine -Evading Mutation.

UK Coronavirus Vaccine

The U.K. coronavirus virus has developed a mutation called E484K, which may impact vaccine effectiveness.  

The virus called B.1.1.7, was first identified in the U.K. In September 2020 and has since spread around the world, Live Science previously reported that this variant is more contagious than earlier versions of the coronavirus.

UK Coronavirus Variant

On Monday (Feb. 1), officials in the United Kingdom revealed that, out of about 214,000 samples of the variant that underwent genetic sequencing and evaluation, they had identified 11 samples that had acquired a mutation known as E484K, according to government documents and report.

The mutation has been seen before — notably, in another coronavirus variant called B.1.351, which was first identified in South Africa in October 2020. Scientists officials are concerned about this mutation because it could impact the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Virtually, data from several vaccine makers, including Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, have found that their COVID-19 vaccines were less effective in South Africa, where B.1.351 is dominant.

This mutation happens in the receptor-binding domain (RBD), where the virus first docks with human cells. Screening antibodies that prevent the virus from entering cells bind to this spot, so changes in the RBD may make it harder for these antibodies to recognize variants with the E484K. mutation, 

Variants with the coronavirus may spread more easily in populations where many people have already had COVID-19, allowing for reinfections in people with prior antibodies.

The virus “may well convey a fitness advantage in settings where there is existing immunity” to the virus, Nicholas Davies, a mathematical biologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Times. 

Samples of the new disease B.1.1.7 with the E484K mutation appear very rare, and it’s unclear whether versions of B.1.1.7 with this mutation will take off in the U.K. “I think it’s potentially concerning, but hard to tell from the report what it means,”

The E484K disease has also turned up in novel coronavirus variants in Brazil. Experts are still working to figure out how the mutation benefits the virus. 

South Africa Coronavirus Variant

A worrisome new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa, which is called B.1.351, has already spread to more than 30 countries. A worrisome new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa, which is called  B.1.351, has already spread to more than 30 countries. Most scientists are particularly alarmed by this variant because of its potential to “escape” protection from current vaccines, meaning vaccines might not stop people from getting infected with COVID-19.

This virus was first revealed in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, in early October 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus took off so fast and within weeks it was the dominant strain in parts of the country. Now, South African officials are finding the variant in more than 90% of samples from COVID-19 patients that undergo genetic sequencing. It is so amazing and terrifying how quickly it came to dominate.

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