First case of UK’s ‘Bristol variant’ of coronavirus that has a mutation that may weaken vaccines is discovered in the US, CDC director reveals
- The US has discovered its first case of the ‘Bristol variant’ that emerged in the UK
- Variant has same mutations as the UK’s earlier B117 variant that make it 70% more infectious, as well as another mutation known as E484K
- E484K is concerning to scientists because it may make vaccines less effective
- The same mutation is seen in the South African variant of coronavirus
The US has identified at least one case of the UK ‘super-covid’ variant with an additional mutation that could weaken the effects of vaccin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr Rochelle Walensky revealed Wednesday.
Known as the ‘Bristol variant’ because it was first discovered there in the UK, the variant carries the same mutations as the ‘Kent’ or B117 version of the virus.
But it has scientists worried because it also has an additional mutation, known as E484K, that could make vaccines less effective.
E484K is also seen in the South African and Brazilian variants of coronavirus. Any variants carrying this mutation – including those two a second Brazilian variant, the Bristol variant, the Liverpool variant, and another new variant recently identified in the UK.
‘The continued spread of variants that are more transmissible could jeopardize the progress we have made if we let our guard down,’ said Dr Walensky during the Wednesday briefing.
The first case of the ‘Bristol variant’ that first emerged in the UK has been found in the US said Dr Rochelle Walensky, CDC director
yet another coronavirus variant has been discovered in the US, which already had seven, including four homegrown types of coronavirus
‘As of yesterday, we have confirmed 1,277 cases of the B117 variant across 42 states, including the first case of b117 variant with E484K substitution that had previously been found in the UK.’
She did not specify where in the US the Bristol varint had been discovered, or whether the person had a recent history of travel.
Dr Fauci has warned that the South African variant was the most concerning on in the US, because of its potential to weaken vaccines.
Now that the Bristol variant has arrived in the US, it will join the B1351 variant as one of the most worrying forms of coronavirus spreading in the US.
British authorities have found at least 22 cases of the Bristol variant.
‘E484K is currently the mutation with most evidence of causing antigenic change,’ said Public Health England in a statement last month.
The number of individual variants and count of each seem to be multiplying with growing speed in both the UK and the US.
Dr Walensky reminded Americans that these variants have more opportunity to emerge and spread the more cases of coronavirus there are at a given time.
She urged Americans to continue wearing masks and get COVID-19 vaccines even if they may be slightly less effective against some variants, including those that emerged in South Africa and Bristol.
She also said that nineteen case of B1351 (South African) variant have been found across 10 states and three cases of the P1 variant that emerged in Brazil have been found across two states.
‘I know these variants are concerning especially as we’re seeing progress. I’m talking about them today because I am concerned, too,’ Dr Walensky said.