COVID variant: New strain that could resist vaccines has been detected

A new super-mutated strain of the coronavirus could render vaccines completely ineffective.

COVID variant: New strain that could resist vaccines has been detected
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Scientists have just discovered a new strain in South Africa that has mutated so much from the original virus that it may have the ability to bypass protection provided by jabs.

32 mutations in the spike protein

The strain, which was first detected in Botswana, has since spread to two other countries. The multiple mutations observed in the new strain have affected its spike protein—the part of the virus that the vaccine uses to boost your immune system in preparation for an incoming virus.

In other words, with so many changes present in the strain from the original virus, your vaccine-boosted immune system will have a hard time detecting its presence. As a result, it will not be able to protect you from the coronavirus it was intended to shield you against. The scientist who made the discovery, Dr Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, said:

The incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern. This might be more widespread than sequences alone would imply.

And added:

The extremely long branch length and incredibly high amount of spike mutations suggest this could be of real concern. [The strain could be] worse antigenically than nearly anything else about, including the Delta variant, which has wreaked havoc all across the globe.

Even more cause for concern

Researchers have also found that the new highly mutated strain, called B.1.1.529, has reduced antibody recognition in relation to vaccine effectiveness. Ravi Gupta, a professor of clinical microbiology at Cambridge University has explained:

It does certainly look a significant concern based on the mutations present. However, a key property of the virus that is unknown is its infectiousness, as that is what appears to have primarily driven the Delta variant. Immune escape is only part of the picture of what may happen.