Britain, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Uganda, California… The coronavirus has not stopped mutating, and new variants have spread all over the world. Today, a hospital in Tokyo is widely known by the common name of the country where it appeared. The hospital discovered a new version of SARS-CoV-2, which has been added to all previous versions, and is concerned about the possible impact on the population: Japan.
The characteristics of this variant are E484K mutation, Also known as ERIK, is shared by the South African and Brazilian versions of the coronavirus. It is a modification of SARS-CoV-2 that greatly reduces the effectiveness of the vaccine because it reduces the neutralizing ability of certain antibodies produced by stimulating the immune response that prevents the virus from entering the cell.However, there are also concerns that it may be Disease spread.
This discovery occurred during the peak of new infections, especially affecting the city of Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi prefectures. Months before the Olympics In Tokyo, last year was postponed due to the pandemic.
Tokyo Medical and Dental University Hospital discovered this new variant and found 70% of patients were checked In March, COVID-19 was infected with the virus. The center sequenced 14 positive people and verified that 10 had been infected by the mutant virus.
In addition, in January and February, 12 of the 36 patients infected with COVID-19 were carriers of the mutation, and They haven’t traveled abroad recently According to the hospital’s report, he has not had any contact with anyone.
At present, there are two main branches with this E484K mutation: South Africa and Brazil. Except for some isolated incidents, 20 minutes Professor Víctor Jiménez Cid at the Complutense University of Madrid. “It is likely to be one of these variants, this variant has spread in Japan, and Already developed there“And joined the member of the Spanish Society of Microbiology.
A virologist and professor of microbiology at CEU San Pablo Estanislao Nistal University pointed out that the coronavirus can Variation in long-term hospitalized patients In an actively infected hospital.
The characteristic E484K mutation of this Japanese variant affects the ability of the neutralizing virus to enter cells, such as 20 minutes Nistal.This feature can Decrease vaccine effectiveness and generated immunity From previous infections.
“This mutation greatly affects the neutralizing ability of certain antibodies produced by stimulating the immune response that prevents the virus from entering our cells. When we were previously infected by different variants, certain antibodies would not work. But. , This does not mean that we no longer have immunity. He deepened. It can reduce potency, but it cannot eliminate potency.
In this sense, he added that in addition to neutralizing antibodies, There are other forms of exemption Prevent coronaviruses such as T cells.
Jiménez Cid agreed: “The immunity that has been developed is effective, but the effect is not so effective. It does not eliminate antigenicity, but it does reduce it. Reformulation of vaccines in the future These variants are included, so some may even be multi-purpose.
Both experts believe that just as the N501Y mutation (in the British version of the virus) does lead to an increase in infectiousness, It is unclear whether the same will happen with E484K. JiménezCid believes: “Will it lead to greater communicability? It may have an impact, but it has not been fully proven. However, it can be inferred from the success of the prevalence, because they have replaced other variants.”
Regarding mortality, Jiménez Cid pointed out These new variants have not yet shown greater virulence. However, it emphasizes that if the transferability is high, the number of patients will increase and hospitals will be saturated, which may lead to a decline in the quality of care and an increase in the number of deaths.
The two scientists also agreed that the main variant of the country’s coronavirus will not have a major impact on the Olympics, because the key to controlling the spread is to take necessary measures and control it. “There will be no significant impact”, Opina Nistal.