The E484K mutation of SARS-CoV-2 detected in Jalisco on January 27 could be a local variant of the virus and not be the strains identified in Brazil and South Africa with this same mutation, said Natali Vega Magaña, head of the Laboratory for Diagnosis in Emerging and Reemerging Diseases (LaDEER), of the University Center for Health Sciences (CUCS) of the University of Guadalajara, where the mutation was detected.
He reported that of the four patients, one of them had contact with a foreign person in Puerto Vallarta, where the infection began, while two are people who did not report having had contact with people who have traveled abroad.
He explained that although the detected mutation has been associated with the Brazilian and South African variants, it is important to clarify that the mutation detected in the CUCS laboratory does not necessarily confirm that patients have been infected with these variants, so research continues to confirm it or establish whether it is part of a variant that may be Mexican.
“We have to do more studies. What we can confirm is that we did detect the E484K mutation and this is an important finding, since it had not been reported in Mexico. However, more in-depth studies such as sequencing are required, as well as the analysis of more positive samples to determine the prevalence of this mutation in Jalisco ”, he specified.
Vega Magaña indicated that more information will be available in the coming weeks to validate this discovery, since at the moment there are no conclusive studies.
He remembered that this variant of the virus is one of the most relevant since there is a change that can affect its binding with the neutralizing antibodies that the human body generates as part of the immune response due to infection or when receiving a vaccine.
“As this mutation is recent, more information and studies are lacking, we must be very careful and cautious with the information we have, because it is preliminary; but what has been reported is that this mutation may be related to a second infection. It is important not to be alarmed and to take precautions, to continue with hygiene care, social distancing and correct use of the mask ”, said the specialist.
For his part, the rector of the CUCS, José Francisco Muñoz Valle, indicated that this finding was achieved in conjunction with the Genes2Life company, dedicated to the creation of supplies focused on molecular biology diagnosis, with whom a molecular assay was designed for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 mutations.
“We are working on sequencing protocols to be able to define if only the E484K mutation is found in the identified samples or if there are other mutations that can define a characteristic strain of the Mexican population,” he said.