New Strain of Corona Virus in 8 European Countries

The World Health Organisation Director recently announced that a new strain of Corona Virus has been detected in eight European countries. The new strain is spreading rapidly among the younger groups unlike the previous strain.

New COVID-19 mutants

Recently, this mutant was first discovered in UK. According to experts, this mutant transmitted at faster rates as compared to the normal COVID-19 virus. India too faced super spreading COVID-19 variants between March and May. It was named the “A4 variant”. It began in South East Asia. However, the mutant died on its own. In other words, the intensity of spread to the mutant began to decrease after a while.

About the mutant

The new COVID-19 virus has been named Variant of Concern, VOC-2020 12/01. Previously it was called as Variant Under Investigation. The mutant has variations in its spike protein. The mutation has occured in N501Y.

What is N501Y?

N501Y means that the amino acid represented by letter N and present at position 501 in the COVID-19 genetic structure has been replaced by another amino acid, that is represented by Y. the mutation has basically increased the binding affinity of the virus.

About COVID-19 mutations

There are two major types of mutations that are occurring in COVID-19. They are synonymous mutation and non-synonymous mutation. Synonymous mutations are those that cause no alteration in the structure of proteins. They eventually translate in to the same amino acids. The non-synonymous mutation occurs as a result of amino acid change.

According to the World Health Organization, the other mutations that may influence the transmissibility of COVID-19 virus in humans are P681H and HV 69/70. The P681H mutation is capable of promoting entry into respiratory epithelial cells and transmission in animal models. P681H means that the amino acid represented by letter P and present at position 681 in the COVID-19 genetic structure has been replaced by another amino acid, that is represented by H.  The HV 69/70 was created due to deletion of amino acids at positions 69 and 70. These positions are in the spike protein. These mutations were found in France and South Africa.

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