Although the English variant of covid-19 is now all eyes, scientists they are more concerned by a mutation present in other versions of the virus, such as those detected in South Africa and Brazil, what it can potentially make current vaccines less effective.
Call E484KThis mutation “is the most worrying of all” regarding its impact on the immune response, Ravi Gupta, a professor of microbiology at the University of Cambridge, told AFP.
Variants are different versions of the initial coronavirus that appear over time, as the virus mutates, which happens when it replicates.
Until now, multiple SARS-CoV-2 mutations have been observed, most without consequence. But others can improve your survival, for example, by making you more contagious.
The variants that emerged in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil and Japan – the latter with the arrival of a family from the South American giant – have a mutation called N501Y in common, which would explain their greater transmissibility. This is located in the protein spike coronavirus, a prominence that allows it to penetrate cells.
But for the E484K mutation, other types of suspicion weigh. Laboratory tests showed that with this, the body seems to recognize the virus less, thus reducing its neutralization by antibodies.
This mutation “could help the virus to bypass the immune protection acquired by a previous infection or by vaccination”, according to Dr. François Balloux, from University College London, quoted by the British organization Science Media Center.
This potential “immune evasion” could therefore have an impact on the efficacy of vaccines, according to the scientists.