Louisiana State University Detects New SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.630 In America With E484Q Mutation And Immune Evasive Properties
: Genomic researchers and virologists from the EVT Viral Genomics and Sequencing Lab at Louisiana State University (LSU) Health Shreveport are the first in America to sequence and report that a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has been detected in the state of Louisiana.
According to the study team, the new B.1.630 variant, was sequenced last week from two samples collected in Baton Rouge.
Alarmingly the new variant spots the E484Q mutation and also other mutations and deletions that are being studied and is thought to be immune evasive. Though it has a low dominance, it seems to be very gradually growing with more than 79 similar sequences now detected across the United States.
Dr Chris Kevil, Vice Chancellor for Research at LSU Health Shreveport told Thailand Medical News, “Thanks to our many partnerships across the state, our EVT Viral Genomics and Sequencing Lab is able to sequence a large variety of samples which increases our chances of finding new variants. Genomic sequencing and the data this science provides is important to continuing our mission of public health surveillance so we can help best protect citizens of Louisiana throughout the duration of this pandemic.”
Records from GISAID and Nextstrain platforms indicated that the B.1.630 variant most probably emerged around March 2021 in America.
The B.1.630 does not have variant classification or a Greek alphabet name like the commonly known Delta variant because it accounts for such a small proportion of samples sequenced. It does contain the E484Q mutation, which may help the virus escape the host immune system and lead to infection. Currently its predominance is very low but stringent genomic surveillance is warranted.
Dr Krista Queen, Director of Viral Genomics and Surveillance for the Center of Excellence for Emerging Viral Threats at Louisiana State University added, “Even though the predominance of this variant is low, we will continue to keep an eye on it and watch for any changes or if it starts to increase. Any lineage or sub-lineage of SARS-CoV-2 with this E484Q mutation is watched because of the possibility of immune evasion. Some of the variants that do not have other mutations that increase transmissibility will eventually die out, but it is important to monitor any changes in abundance.”
She also stressed, “Although viruses that contain this mutation may be able to escape the immune response and resist antibodies, vaccination still remains our best tool to prevent at least disease severity or mortality risk.”
She further added on the Variant News
, “Mutations in viruses are not uncommon. RNA viruses, like the virus that cause COVID-19, are more prone to mutation because of their method of copying their genome. Vaccination does not prevent the virus from mutating; however, the virus does not get the opportunity to mutate in the case of infections prevented by vaccination. The higher the percentage of the population that is vaccinated, the fewer chances the virus gets to mutate into new lineages that could be potentially more transmissible or more harmful lineages.”
So far, the EVT Viral Genomics and Sequencing Lab h
as completed genome sequencing for more than 7,000 COVID-19 test samples and is the top submitter in the state of Louisiana to the global GISAID database. LSUHS scientists are still seeing the B.1.617.2 (Delta) SARS-CoV-2 variant as the most prevalent in North Louisiana.
Thailand Medical News would also like to add that in the last 3 weeks, there has been a concerted effort by American authorities to suppress data including on publicly shared scientific and genomic platforms etc on anything concerning the various Delta sub-variants. All of a sudden researchers and genomic experts have been ‘silenced’ with regards to anything with regards to the more than 142 distinct Delta sub-variants found so far, some with concerning mutations and deletions found on them and also some registering potential catastrophic immune evasive and ADE potential. Of concern are the new Delta AY.12, AY.29, AY.33 and AY.41 sub-variants which some experts are claiming have unique and worrisome pathogenesis and clinical manifestations. Perhaps someone out there could enlighten us as to what is really going on?
For more on the latest Variant News
, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.