Great Britain

New Covid variant found in Kentucky nursing home has deadly mutations that could evade virus antibodies

A NEW variant of COVID-19 with deadly mutations that give it "increased resistance to antibodies" was discovered in a Kentucky nursing home.

The variant, called R.1, infected 45 residents and employees in the facility, including some who were fully vaccinated.

R.1 originated in Japan, and has now racked up over 10,000 entries in the GISAID SARS-CoV-2 database, which researchers use to record genomic data.

Scientist William A. Haseltine writes in Forbes:"R.1 is a variant to watch. It has established a foothold in both Japan and the United States.

He added that it features several unique mutations that could give it advantages in "transmission, replication, and immune suppression."

One of these, a mutation termed E484K located in the spike protein of the virus, gives it an "increased resistance" to antibodies generated by the vaccine.

R.1 shares an additional mutation, the D614G, with all other variants that have overtaken the original alpha strain, which increases its infectiousness.

It comes as the world crosses the grim milestone of 229million global COVID infections and a death toll of 4.7million on Tuesday, according to a Johns Hopkins tracker.

The US continues still leads the world in infection numbers, at 4.23million cases and 676,261 deaths in total.

Average daily deaths from the virus in the US have reached 2,087, the most since March of this year.

Meanwhile, an FDA advisory committee voted unanimously on Friday to approve booster shots for adults over 65 or with a severe health risk at any age.

Boosters will be made available for those eligible six months after the second vaccine dose.

The same panel voted 16-2 against authorizing a booster shot for the general public.

White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday that new data about Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots will be made available in the coming weeks.

“The actual data that we’ll get [on] that third shot for the Moderna and second shot for the J & J is literally a couple to a few weeks away," he told NBC's "Meet the Press."

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