Global health officials have raised the alarm about a new, fourth COVID-19 mutation that has appeared in Brazil.
The new variant, B.1.1.248, which contains the mutation E484K that is also present in the South African B.1.351 (501Y.V2) lineage, was recently discovered by doctors during an exam of travelers who had returned to Japan from Brazil’s Amazon region.
As far as is known so far, the Brazilian mutation is no more lethal than any other, but like the UK, South African and Nigerian variants that came before it, it is much more contagious that the original novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, multiple media report.
20J/501Y.V3 sequences have both 484K & 501Y (like 501Y.V2, mostly in South Africa) – they are shown in orange below.
They are clearly separate from the other, larger S:E484K cluster circulating in Brazil (in green, with temporary label 20B/S.484K)
— Dr Emma Hodcroft (@firefoxx66) January 14, 2021
“We are concerned about the new Brazilian mutation,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We will take all measures to protect this country from new infections arriving from abroad, and we will do the same with the Brazilian mutation.”
TRAVEL UPDATE: From 4am tomorrow arrivals from South American countries and Portugal will no longer be granted entry into the UK. This does not include British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) January 14, 2021
It’s not yet known how contagious, or deadly the new Brazilian variant might be.