The Indian Ministry of Health announced earlier this week that they have discovered a new double mutation of the coronavirus.
According to the statement, the variant contains mutations from the L452R mutation and the E484Q mutation, writes BBC.
– We are constantly discovering new mutations and changes in the virus through the whole genome sequencing that is done in the laboratory. The virus referred to here, which has been reported from India, we have so far not seen in Norway. However, we have seen both mutations, but not in the same virus, says department director Line Vold in FHI.
– More contagious
Violence points out that L452R has been seen in what is known as the California variant of the virus, which has been detected to a greater extent in the United States.
– It is suspected that there is a somewhat higher infectivity of virus with this mutation. We have seen viruses with this mutation in Norway as well, but very few cases, under five, she explains.
The E484Q mutation has great similarities to the E484K mutation. The difference lies in the amino acids, Vold explains.
The number code shows where the mutation took place, and the letters show which amino acid change is the result of the mutation. E stands for glutamate. The K indicates that the change is from glutamate to the amino acid lysine, while the Q shows that the change is from glutamate to glutamine.
Violence explains that virus with mutation E484K is also suspected to be more contagious. This mutation is found in the South African variant of the virus, which has now been detected in about three percent of the analyzed viruses in Norway.
– The mutation has also been detected in viruses other than the South African variant, and has been detected in viruses from travelers from a number of African countries to Norway. In addition to the fact that the mutation is associated with increased infectivity, and questions have also been raised about whether this mutation can have the vaccines have a somewhat reduced effect, says Vold.
– Not unusual
Physician and virologist Jeremy Kamil at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center tells the BBC that such double mutations are not uncommon.
– It is extremely common to see several mutations at the same time, even if we only stick to the spike gene, he says.
In Norway, there are eight virus variants that worry FHI. This applies in particular to the British variant (B.1.1.7), the South African (B. 1.351) and the Brazilian (P1), but also:
The California variant, the Brazilian P2 variant, the B. 1.525 variant, B. 1.1.29, the Turbus variant (B. 1.160) and the Trondheim variant (B. 1.258).
Section leader Karoline Bragstad at FHI has previously stated to Dagbladet that they are most concerned about variants that have not yet been discovered.
– We suspect that there are very many variants out there that have the opportunity for widespread use because they occur in countries that have less control over infection and outbreaks, and which do not monitor the viruses to the same degree as we do in Norway, she said.
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