A New COVID-19 Variant Has Been Found in 13 Countries
Shafaq News/ With COVID-19 vaccine rollout in full force and daily new cases and deaths, unpredictable viral mutations are one of the last threats that could derail the fight against the pandemic.
According to Observer.com, a third variant of Covid-19 is worrying scientists after they found that it contains a mutation that could enable the virus to evade neutralizing antibodies generated by existing vaccines.
In study published on Monday, researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said that a new COVID variant, called B1525, carries a mutation known as E484K in the oronavirus’ spike protein, which is a key gateway for the virus to enter human cells.
The Website said the new mutation is present in three previously discovered COVID variants: the B117 variant first detected in the U.K. in December, the B1351 variant first found in South Africa and the B1128 variant from Brazil.
The B1525 variant also carries two other mutations, known as Q677H and F888L, of “biological significance,” the Scottish study said.
By the study’s publishing time, the variant had been found in 13 countries on five continents—a fact suggesting that it had been spreading for some time before identified. The earliest sample analyzed in the Scottish study dates back to December 15 last year.
Countries in which the new variant has been detected include the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Nigeria, Ghana, Jordan, Australia and Singapore. Britain has the highest infection rate, with 39 people tested positive as of Tuesday, According to Observer.
The good news, though, is that the fact that the E484K mutation is found in multiple dangerous COVID-19 variants might give scientists some direction in developing the next-generation vaccines.