The new strain - known as B.1.525 - has been recorded 33 times already in the UK. The strain carries the E48K mutation which has been found on both
The new strain – known as B.1.525 – has been recorded 33 times already in the UK. The strain carries the E48K mutation which has been found on both the South African and Brazilian variants. Worryingly, the current vaccine jabs are deemed to be less effective against the new variants of the virus.
This new strain has concerned scientists as it could make it more resistant to vaccines.
Professor Jonathan Stoye, a virologist at the Francis Crick Institute, said it was not surprising the variant contained some mutations already.
He said: “The minute you start putting selection pressure on this virus, you start selecting particularly for things that give it the ability to escape immune responses, and I think that is what we are seeing here.
“This change seems to be the key change at the moment to allow escape, so that’s the one you put into the tweaked vaccine.”
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England (PHE), said: “PHE is monitoring data about emerging variants very closely and where necessary public health interventions are being undertaken, such as extra testing and enhanced contact tracing.
“There is currently no evidence that this set of mutations causes more severe illness or increased transmissibility.
“The best way to stop the spread of the virus is to follow the public health advice – wash your hands, wear a face covering and keep your distance from others.
“While in lockdown, it is important that people stay at home where possible.”
The new strain shares similarities with the Kent strain, which has been shown to be up to 70 percent more infectious.
More to follow…