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Experts say UK virus mutation may affect vaccine efficacy

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Anadolu Agency

A new mutation of the Covid-19 virus, which has been found in a strain currently circulating in the UK, may have an impact on the efficacy of vaccines, according to Public Health England. The E484K mutation has already been detected in South Africa and Brazil and has now been found in at least 11 samples of the B.1.1.7 strain in the UK.

The UK strain has now spread to at least 70 other countries, including the US, where at least 470 cases have been reported. Medical experts say mass testing, coupled with ongoing Covid-19 safety guidelines and the rollout of vaccines is now more important than ever.

In addition, they have voiced concern that the more transmissible mutation may become resistant to vaccines and may be more likely to re-infect those who’ve already had the virus. It’s not yet known how this latest development may impact the spread of Covid-19 in the UK and beyond, but experts say the mutation could be the reason some vaccines have reported lower efficacy rates in South Africa.

While the Novavax vaccine has reported 89% efficacy in Phase 3 trials in the UK, this dropped to 60% in studies conducted in South Africa. The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine reported an efficacy rate of 72% in the UK, but just 57% in South Africa. A CNN report says that between 90 and 95% of South African cases are linked to the variant that contains the mutation.

Renowned US immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci points to studies carried out by colleagues in South Africa that show significant re-infection rates in those who’ve already had the virus, indicating the prior infection may not always protect against the new strain. However, he says although vaccine efficacy may be decreased slightly, the jabs still offer some protection.

“We need to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can. Even though there is a diminished protection against the variants, there’s enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalisation and deaths.”



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  1. Avatar


    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 9:40 am

    It didn’t “mutate” they are just releasing stronger versions of it as they tweek the program. No wonder Bill Gates can’t get through an interview without smirking the entire time. His father was after all the head of Planned Parenthood the US eugenics front – its in his book BTW.

    • Avatar


      Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      You are spouting all this rubbish like it is facts. Just because you read it somewhere doesn’t mean it’s real.
      You people who spread fake conspiracies with no facts are far more dangerous than Bill Gates and the like.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 11:32 am

    No, it’s not “in his book BTW”, neither is it true.

    His father wasn’t “the head of Planned Parenthood”, although he was on the board, and PP isn’t a “US eugenics front” as has been widely and clearly debunked by anyone wasting a few seconds checking.

  3. Avatar


    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Once again, I say to the flu bros, grow up.

    The bigger risk to most people is your selfish hysteria. You’re welcome to stay home until the cows come home while you consume media nonsense Clockwork Orange style, just leave the rest of us out of it.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    I have just read, viruses always mutate.
    Sometimes they become weaker. Sometimes they become more contagious.
    The doctors all over the web state it is so, and there is nothing to worry about.
    However, they wear white coats, and I don’t trust people wearing white coats.
    Since when I was a kid, and an ice cream man, wearing a white coat. sold me a 99 cornet and there was not a Cadburys flake in it.
    He said the flake was underneath the ice cream – it wasn’t.

  5. Avatar


    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    The vaccine will be less effective and will still protect you, at a lower %, from becoming ill, going to the hospital or dying. Still to be determined how long the protection lasts before you need another shot. They’ll also tweet the formula for the latest variants just like they do for the flu.

    America, the UK, Israel, etc will slowly begin to recover once a larger % of the population gets the shot. There have always been doubters of science and with social media those voices have been amplified. A challenge that’ll be overcome.

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