These countries have discovered a new COVID variant, B.1.1.529, that may evade immunity.

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These countries have discovered a new COVID variant, B.1.1.529, that may evade immunity.

Scientists are concerned about a new COVID variant with a “terrible” combination of mutations that could allow the virus to avoid immunity.

After a tiny cluster of instances was discovered by Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom, the variant, now known as B.1.1.529, was reported just days ago.

According to The Guardian newspaper, the variant had been found in Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong as of Wednesday this week, with only 10 cases documented.

On variation tracking services like GISAID and Outbreak.info, sequencing data does not appear to be listed yet.

Despite the limited number of instances, the alterations found in B.1.1.529 have some specialists concerned.

Peacock claimed the variation has a number of noteworthy changes connected with the virus’ spike protein, including K417N, S477N, and E484A, among others, in a Twitter thread on Tuesday. This protein is used by the virus to enter human cells.

Just discovered: RBD – K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493K, G496S, Q498R, N501Y, Y505H – very small cluster of variants connected with Southern Africa with very long branch length and absolutely poor Spike mutation profile including RBD – K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K,

https://t.co/kgA9c1hKDa

Tom Peacock (@PeacockFlu) (@PeacockFlu) (@PeacockFlu) (@Pea 23 November 2021 “Worth emphasizing, this is at incredibly low numbers right now in a part of Africa that is quite well sampled, but it very very much should be observed owing to the horrible spike profile (would take a guess that this would be worse antigenically than virtually everything else about),” Peacock added. While more information is needed, some scientists have speculated on what benefits the virus may have over other strains based on what we know about its changes.

The variation may be immune-resistant, according to Ravi Gupta, professor of clinical microbiology at the Cambridge Institute for Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Diseases.

“This one is frightening,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, “and I haven’t stated that since Delta.”

“Please get vaccinated and boosted, and wear a mask in public, as the virus’s mutations are expected to result in high levels of neutralizing antibody escape.”

This one makes me nervous, and I haven’t said that since delta. Please consider getting immunized. This is a condensed version of the information.

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