Jonathan Van-Tam warns coronavirus battle 'not yet won'
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A mutation variant known as the E484K has been found in the South and African Brazilin variants. What are the main symptoms to look out for?
A woman, who was asked to remain anonymous, tested positive for the E484K mutation of coronavirus and has explained her symptoms in detail as a warning for others on what to look out for.
The E484K mutation is not a new variant in itself – it is a mutation which occurs in different variants and has already been found in the South African (B.1.351) and Brazilian (B.1.1.28) variants.
The Wirral woman tested positive for the Variant Under Investigation (VUI) in January.
The mutation is in the spike protein and appears to have an impact on the body’s immune response and, possibly, vaccine efficacy.
Speaking to the ECHO, she explained: “I had a streaming cold and then lost my sense of taste and smell in January.
“There was talk of us having the South African variant, but it’s now said to be this mutation.
“We were sent antibody kits and asked to take samples of blood for analysis.
“It was worrying to not be in the picture of what I had for quite some time and having to push for information.”
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E484K is called an escape mutation because it helps the virus slip past the body’s immune defences.
Ravindra Gupta at the University of Cambridge and colleagues have confirmed that the new B.1.1.7 plus E484K variant substantially increases the amount of serum antibody needed to prevent infection of cells.
Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor of molecular oncology at Warwick University said: “The E484K mutation may weaken the immune response and also impact the longevity of the neutralising antibody response.
“So B.1.1.7 variants carrying the E484K mutation may be more efficient at reinfection.”
A spokeswoman for Public Health England said: “NHS Test and Trace currently activates surge testing in areas where Variants of Concern are identified.
“The variant identified in Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Preston and West Lancashire has recently been classified a ‘variant under investigation’ (VUI) by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).
“Specialist public health teams are following up all cases with this variant and are monitoring the situation closely.
“Currently surge testing is not being activated for VUIs, but this remains under close review and local authorities continue to target existing testing resources in areas where cases of the VUI have been found.”
How to respond to symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus, get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from one other household.
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