Another mutation of the South African variant called E484K, which is not found in the United Kingdom strain, is said to help the virus dodge attack by a person's immune system and hamper the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.
It was detected in 11 out of more than 214,000 samples tested, and they are mainly from the South West of England. The report said the mutation had been detected in 11 B.1.1.7 genomes, possibly as a result of "more than one acquisition event", suggesting that the 11 genomes were not all linked to each other and the mutation may have occurred spontaneously at separate locations.
Pfizer and BioNTech have also said that their COVID-19 vaccine works against human-made lab variants containing the E484K mutation. "Is that something that you're going to do forever, because it looks like these strains may continue to arise in the long term?" All kinds of viruses mutate as they replicate themselves to transmit and flourish.
Describing the finding, virus expert Dr. Julian Tang, from the University of Leicester said, "it is a worrying development", although not totally unexpected. Testing will, in combination with following the lockdown rules and remembering "Hands". He may have been referring to the 1918 flu virus that eventually weakened as it spread around the world. "The best way to stop the spread of the virus - including new variants - is to stay at home and follow the restrictions in place", he said.
The Swedish government announced Wednesday that foreign citizens will have to provide a recent negative test for COVID-19 when entering Sweden as of Saturday.
Some research appears to show E484K may help the virus evade parts of the immune system called antibodies.
Two new Covid-19 vaccines that could be approved soon - one from Novavax and another from Janssen - appear to offer some protection too, the report said.
Ever since scientists started tracking the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, it has become a cause of concern that the virus has developed multiple variants that began emerging in the fall of 2020.
They added they can't be traced back to worldwide travel.
The University of Cambridge's Professor Ravi Gupta explained, this gives "us a sign that it has certain favored routes", and they could work to block such variants off using a vaccine.