Variant News: New Local Arizona Variant B.1.243.1 With E484K Mutation Emerges and Is Fast Spreading In Arizona, New Mexico And Texas!
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In a development in which the U.S. CDC and NIH are trying to conceal or downplay, researchers from the Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University have in a new study discovered a local variant called the Arizona B.1.243.1 variant
with the immune evading mutation E484K found on it.
The E484K mutation in the spike protein reduces neutralization by post-vaccination sera and monoclonal antibody therapeutics.
The study team detected the emergence of an E484K harboring variant B.1.243.1 from a common circulating variant (B.1.243) in the United States.
In contrast to other instances when the E484K mutation was acquired independently in the parental lineage, genomic surveillance indicates that the B.1.243.1 variant of interest is in the process of being established in Arizona and beginning to cross state borders to New Mexico and Texas.
Alarmingly genomic, epidemiologic and phylogenetic evidence indicates that the B.1.243.1 variant of interest is poised to become prevalent.
These study findings demonstrate the critical need to continue tracking SARS-CoV-2 in real-time to inform public health strategies, diagnostics, medical countermeasures and vaccines.
The study findings were published on a preprint server that is currently being peer reviewed. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.03.26.21254367v1
In order to provide state-wide genomic surveillance, the study team from Arizona State University sequenced the SARS-CoV-2 genome from 688 positive samples collected from December 28 2020 to March 13 2021 in Arizona, USA.
A total of 638 high-quality complete genomes (92.7%) were successfully sequenced that included variants such as B.1.1.7 (n=49, 7.7%), B.1.427/429 (n=214, 33.5%) and P.2 (n=6, 0.9%).
The study team detected 7 genomes associated with a common B.1.243 variant that had acquired an E484K mutation in the spike protein.
The B.1.243.1 variant had 11 lineage-defining mutations including V213G and E484K in the spike gene, a 9-nt deletion in ORF1ab (ΔSGF3675-77), a 3- nt insertion in the non-coding intergenic region upstream of the N gene and other synonymous substitutions.
Alarmingly these 11 conserved mutations are distinct from the mutations associated with the parental lineage, B.1.243.
The parental B.1.243 lineage is a common circulating variant in the US that was first observed at the start of the pandemic as early as March 2020.
The B.1.243 parent lineage encodes the spike gene D614G substitution, but none of the other concerning mutations.
The study team designated the new E484K harboring variant the provisional name of B.1.243.1.
Beside the E484K mutation, little is known about the functional consequences of the other B.1.243.1 lineage-defining mutations and whether they contribute to the successful transmission in Arizona.
A detailed research is currently underway and Thailand Medical News will continue to provide updates on this new development.
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