New York Variant Harbors a Third Worrisome Mutation

(Reuters) – Researchers are learning more about the SARS-CoV-2 variant that’s on the rise in New York City.

The variant is known to contain the same E484K mutation seen in variants in Brazil and South Africa that is believed to make COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapies less effective, as well as a mutation called S477N that helps the virus bind more tightly to cells when it breaks into them.

A report by New York State Department of Health researchers posted on Monday on medRxiv ahead of peer review adds new information: all versions of the variant circulating in New York harbor a mutation called D235G that might reduce the efficacy of neutralizing antibodies.

The variant “has increased in the circulating virus population in New York state by almost 26-fold in a little over a month,” the researchers said. “The combination of E484K or S477N with a D253G mutation that might confer immune escape, and the increased number of COVID-19 cases associated with these variants, warrants further monitoring.”

SOURCE: medRxiv, online March 1, 2021.

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