Therapy Areas: AIDS & HIV
New COVID-19 virus variant discovered in New York City and Northeast US
25 February 2021 -

CNN reported on Thursday that two separate teams of researchers have said this week that they have found a worrying new COVID-19 virus variant in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast US that carries mutations that help it evade the body's natural immune response, as well as the effects of monoclonal antibody treatments.

Researchers have named this variant as B.1.526. It appears in people affected in diverse neighbourhoods of New York City, the researchers said, and is "scattered in the Northeast."

Reportedly, one of the mutations in this COVID-19 virus variant is the same concerning change found in the variant first seen in South Africa and known as B.1.351. It appears to evade the body's response to vaccines and it's becoming more common.

One of the team of researches, at Columbia University Medical Centre, wrote in a report that has yet to be published, although it is scheduled to appear in a pre-print version this week: "We observed a steady increase in the detection rate from late December to mid-February, with an alarming rise to 12.7% in the past two weeks."

"It's "home grown, presumably in New York," Dr David Ho, Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Centre at Columbia, who led the study team, commented.

According to CNN, the mutation in this COVID-19 virus variant that most concerns researchers is called E484K and it gives the virus the ability to slip past some of the body's immune response, as well as the authorised monoclonal antibody treatments.

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