(CNN)Scientists have identified an “escape mutant” that may decrease the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.
The mutation — called E484K — has been found in a variant of the coronavirus first spotted in South Africa two months ago.
That variant has now spread to 12 other countries.
Penny Moore, associate professor at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa, called the mutation “alarming.”
“We fear this mutation might have an impact, and what we don’t know is the extent of the impact,” she said. E484K is called an “escape mutant” because it’s been shown it might be able to escape some of the antibodies produced by the vaccine.
“I’m worried,” said Alex Sigal, a virologist at the Africa Health Research Institute.
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More News On South Africa’s Covid-19 Strain
Here’s What to Know About the South African and UK Virus Variants — New York Times
South African variant of coronavirus is ‘taking root’ in the UK after a ‘small’ number of Britons tested positive for it despite not leaving the country, experts fear — Daily Mail
As coronavirus mutates, countries scramble to put up defenses — Nikkei Asian Review
What we know about South Africa’s coronavirus variant — Medical XPress