Scientists advising the government explained that the two modified forms of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant showed similarities with known variants from South Africa and Brazil. One of these new variants, which first appeared in Bristol, has been classified by researchers as a “variable of concern”, according to the London Department of Health.
Worried about a known mutation
The reason for this is because it contains an additional genetic change that is already known: the so-called E484K mutation. Scientists are familiar with this genetic change from a South African and Brazilian SARS-CoV-2 variant. It affects the spike protein of the coronavirus and is said to be responsible for a low immune reaction despite the vaccination or infection of the virus that has already passed.
However, Susan Hopkins of Public Health England said the E484K mutation has appeared repeatedly in various forms since last April and then disappeared again. The new second variant B.1.1.7, which made its debut at Liverpool, also has the E484K mutation. However, scientists only initially classified it as an “observable” variable. The Bristol and Liverpool forms together have so far been detected in a total of 76 cases in Great Britain.
According to preliminary results, vaccines from BioNTech / Pfizer and Oxford / AstraZeneca are effective against the British variant. However, there are now doubts about whether the AstraZeneca vaccine offers complete protection in the South African variant. So South Africa has stopped starting its vaccination campaign with the active ingredient AstraZeneca.
ww / wa (dpa, rtr)