A new variant of the coronavirus with a “constellation” of mutations has been identified in Botswana.
Designated as B.1.1.529, scientists are still unclear whether existing antibodies would react well to the variant – which has 32 spike protein mutations.
Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, branded the mutations “really awful”.
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Just spotted: very small cluster of variant associated with Southern Africa with very long branch length and really awful Spike mutation profile including RBD – K417N, N440K, G446S, S477N, T478K, E484A, Q493K, G496S, Q498R, N501Y, Y505Hhttps://t.co/kgA9c1hKDa
— Tom Peacock (@PeacockFlu) November 23, 2021
Spike proteins are what viruses use to get into human cells, and some of the vaccines work by training the body to recognise the spikes and neutralise them.
Mutations on the spike can therefore potentially prove…