SARS-CoV-2 Spike Variant B.1.1.7 Available
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A distinct strain of SARS-CoV-2 emerges in the UK recently, reportedly accounting for over 60% new infections in the London area. CDC also names the variant "SARS-CoV-2 VOC (variant of concern) 202012/01", highlighting its clinical significance.
The newly identified lineage B.1.1.7 carries an unusually high number of genetic mutations, resulting in an unprecedented 14 AA replacement. Eight of these mutations occur in the spike protein and the following three are particularly worrisome.
-- N501Y, which reportedly leads to an increased binding affinity to human and murine ACE2 receptors
-- 69-70del, which arose from the outbreak linked to farmed minks
-- P681H, which is closed to the furin cleavage site.
It's also important to monitor the B.1.1.7 strain together with the previously identified high frequency variants, such as
-- D614G, which may cause a moderately increased transmissibility
-- N439K, which may be an "escape mutant" for some neutralizing antibodies
-- Y453F, which may be an "escape mutant" for some neutralizing antibodies.
Sino Biological has produced a collection of recombinant antigens for these variants. The reagents can be used to evaluate the efficacy of the antibodies and vaccination.