The new highly contagious Covid-19 variant called B.1.526 is ravaging the city of New York.
According to a recent study, published on the Columbia University website, this new Covid-19 variant – B.1.526 – carries a highly dangerous mutation that can weaken vaccine efficacy.
The study showed that the highly contagious variant was initially identified in samples collected in November last year and has been on a steady rise since December.
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It added that by mid-February about 12.3 per cent of the total infection cases were due to the new variant – one in four cases in New York are related to the new variant.
The US-based researchers found that one area of the spike protein – E484K – was present in all three contagious variants. These variants include the South African variant, P.1, and the New York variant.
The researchers further added that this particular part of the spike protein can negatively impact the body’s immunity and exacerbate the condition.
Researchers noted that the “unique set of spike mutations may also pose an antigenic challenge for current interventions”.