“With what we know about the infectiousness of B.1.1.7, the dominant variant in the UK, we are watching it with particular care,” Susan Hopkins of Public Health England told reporters. However, it restricted the fact that the E484K mutation had appeared again and again in different variants since last April and then disappeared again.
The E484K change in the genome of the virus is known from the South African and Brazilian variants and is associated with a reduced immune reaction in people who have already had a coronavirus infection or have been vaccinated.
The British variant did not previously have the mutation E484K, but thanks to other changes it can spread faster than the variant that is predominant worldwide. According to initial findings, however, the vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Oxford / Astrazeneca work against them. However, there are now doubts about the effectiveness of the Astrazeneca vaccine in the South African variant, at least in mild and moderate cases.