Denmark Discovers New Mutated COVID-19 Strain More Apt at Dodging Antibodies

The mutations spark concerns that vaccines will have a weaker effect the farther the virus mutates from its original strain, to the point of becoming ineffective.

A new mutated coronavirus strain bearing similarities to the previously disclosed South African and the Brazilian variants has been discovered in Denmark, Danish radio reported.

According to Christian Wejse, an associate professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, the newcomer is a further development of the British strain with an extra mutation “that makes it better at dodging antibodies”.

This means that a person who has been infected in the past has a slightly higher risk of becoming infected again.

So far, two cases of the new mutation have been mapped.

The State Serum Institute said it was “medium-concerned” about the new mutation.

“We have a good system in Denmark to follow these viruses and to detect infection. But it is a variant we would rather have avoided to see here”, Henrik Ullum, the director of the State Serum Institute, said.

Christian Wejse ventured that while the mutated strain demands extra measures to keep the spread low, it is neither a “disaster” nor will it affect the nation’s plans for gradual reopening. Still, he admitted that it is by no means a slouch.

“We must take it seriously and try to avoid it becoming the dominant one. The means to do this is to encapsulate it and make effective infection detection”, Wejse said.

At the same time, there are concerns that vaccines will have a weaker effect the farther the virus mutates from its original strain. Despite fears that potential mutations may render inoculation ineffective, Wejse ventured that the current vaccines still protect against becoming seriously ill.

Furthermore, he suggested that it was reassuring that the virus keeps “dishing out” largely the same mutations.

“The virus has been running for over a year with millions of infected, and despite that, we have not really seen any significant mutations other than the aforementioned. I think it gives a certain peace of mind in relation to what we might otherwise be exposed to”, Wejse said.

With the British variant currently being the dominant one, the Scandinavian nation has seen over 230,000 cases of the disease, with over 2,400 deaths. Large swaths of the nation are currently under partial lockdown, with the government planning to lift the restrictions in lockstep with vaccination progress.

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