England investigating new coronavirus variant linked to Antigua travel


LONDON (Reuters) – Public Health England (PHE) on Thursday said a new coronavirus variant had been identified in the UK in two people who had recently been in Antigua, adding that it shared some traits of others but would not be categorised as concerning for now.

The health authority said the variant, know as VUI-202103/01 (lineage B.1.324.1) was designated a variant under investigation on March 4 after two cases were found in the South East of England in individuals who had recently travelled to Antigua.

“The variant contains the spike mutations E484K and N501Y, both usually associated with Variants of Concern (VOC), however it does not feature specific deletions that would lead to a designation as a VOC,” PHE said in a statement.

The variants are mutant versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, which has already killed more than 2.7 million people in the pandemic.

While scientists say that mutations in viruses are inevitable, COVID-19 variants of concern such as those first identified in south east England, South Africa and Brazil, have worrisome changes that give the virus advantages, such as increased transmissibility or reducing the effectiveness of vaccines.

The E484K mutation of the spike protein has been seen in South African and Brazilian variants, and has occurred spontaneously in the UK variant, and is associated with lower vaccine efficacy. The N501Y mutation is linked to great transmissibility.

PHE also said that four more cases of the P.1 variant, which was first found in northern Brazil and has the E484K and N501Y mutations, had been identified in England.

That brings the total number identified in Britain to ten, PHE said, adding that they all had links to direct travel from Brazil or to a previously confirmed case that had travelled to Brazil.

Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by William James

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    Without an on-time second jab of same AstraZeneca risk is high for mutations creating more deadly and/or efficacious transmission = trouble, more LOCKDOWNS, more red-listings, more economic pain down the road.
    Lawd help us if an ANTIGUAN VARIANT is named, seems we’ve been targeted as a country of interest already.
    An Antiguan Variant will likely be the kiss of death to the tourist dollar for a long time to come.

  2. So now Antigua could become associated with a more infectious variant of COVID-19. If that happens, tourism in Antigua will not soon recover, even if international travel in the rest of the world returns to normal.

    This had actually occurred to me. That in refusing to lockdown, and letting the virus spread widely, Gaston Browne is risking a home-grown variant of the virus emerging. That is what can happen when the virus is allowed to spread more or less freely.

    Gaston’s Browne incompetence is now beyond dispute. He is a danger to the country, for whose sake the ALP must act decisively and immediately to remove him from the leadership of the party. May God help us.

    • I hear you and understand your concern. Antigua and Barbuda as you know economy is based on tourism. It was an unavoidable gamble with keeping the country open. Let me ask a simple question if the government were to close the country for how long would you recommend?

  3. Avatar photo Denmark , Iceland , Norway and and South Africa have all stop using the Az vaccine . It offers no protect against Covid variant and investigating possible blood clots .

    Yes Yes those Damn locals did it again waiting for THE GREAT REVEAL ON THE CLOWN 🤡 AND 🤡 SHOW .

    • While South Africa has stopped the roll out of the Az vaccine, Denmark has paused due to some blood clot issues that they have seen.

      The European Medical Agency said in response
      “The vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing,” the agency added.

      The EMA also noted that the number of blood clots seen in vaccine recipients was no higher than the rate among people who had not received the shot in Europe.

  4. Possibly this variant did not originate in Antigua and was brought to the island by the individuals. Heaven helps if it is circulating in Antigua.

  5. Can’t let the bandits get away with the murders of both Nigel Christian and Andrea Hughes.

    Where are their murderers? Who is covering it up?

  6. Folks,Antigua always wants to be first.Now it is the FIRST in the Caribbean with its own Coronavirus Variant. How about that.

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