Mumbai, January 10: Amid ongoing search for people infected with a highly infectious strain of coronavirus in India, researchers from Tata Memorial Centre in Kharghar have found three patients with a mutation that can "fool" antibodies. These patients are from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (outside Mumbai). Researchers found E484K mutation, which is linked to the strain of coronavirus detected in South African, in these patients. New 'USA Variant' of COVID-19? CDC Says No Such Strain Identified, Hypothetical Claim Made by White House Task Force.
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The detection of E484 mutations is worrying because they can "fool" or escape three antibodies that the body’s immune system makes. "The E484K mutation is less susceptible to neutralization by antibodies formed against the virus. It is still uncertain what this means for vaccination and resulting immune responses," Dr Nikhil Patkar was quoted by TOI as saying. New Coronavirus Strain: India First in World to Successfully Culture and Isolate 'UK Variant' of COVID-19-Causing SARS-CoV-2 Virus.
Dr Patkar is an associate professor in haematopathology at Tata Memorial Centre’s Kharghar unit called ACTREC, whose team found the E484K mutation. His team found two patients from Raigad and one from Thane with the E484K mutation. They were diagnosed with COVID-19 in September and experienced a mild form of infection. Only one of them needed hospitalisation.
Researchers across the world are now checking the E484K mutation's effect on the COVID-19 vaccination drive in various countries. A total of 1,04,50,284 people have been affected with the coronavirus so far in India, the second worst-hit country by the pandemic after the United States. The total number of people infected with the new strain stands at 90.