New variant of Covid-19 discovered - can bypass the immune system?Watch
(Quarantine on the red list starts on 15 February.)
COVID-19: Mutation of Kent variant detected in samples could help virus evade immune system | Science & Tech News | Sky News
A mutation of the Kent COVID variant that has been detected in some samples could help the virus evade the immune system, scientists have found.
The mutation, which has been labelled E484K, has also been found in the South Africa variant of the coronavirus.
It was found in 11 samples of some 200,000 that have been sequenced.
Sky's science correspondent Thomas Moore said it was a "worrying development" as it could mean those previously infected could be re-infected and could reduce the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.
He said the evolution of E484K meant the virus had effectively "developed a superpower" which enabled it to not only infect cells, but also to invade the immune system
"It changes shape so antibodies don't recognise it in the same way, and the fact that this mutation has been now picked up in some samples of the Kent variant is a twist - a worrying development.
"It potentially means that people who have had the infection before, might be re-infected and also that it might reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine - not completely; the vaccine would still protects against serious infection and death - but perhaps that it wouldn't stop it spreading."
- Study Helper
Epidemiologist Tim Spector says "we mustn't lose our heads" over the "overhyped" coronavirus variants.
Speaking to talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, the principal investigator of the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app said: “There is a lot of good news around [the Oxford jab], amidst these overhyped discussions of mutants
“We have 10 million people vaccinated, and we know these vaccines all work to some extent. It was just a question of how much they might be restricted by some of these variants or not. But people seem to be worried these vaccines wouldn’t work at all. Nowhere has that been shown.”