UK preppers, keep your eyes open: a mutant variant of COVID-19 that first appeared in Brazil has gotten through the UK’s barriers (which usually do such a good job of keeping new COVID strains out), although according to this article in the Times, it’s not something to cause particular alarm at this time.
Keep your eyes on it, because the Manaus Variant, as it’s being known, does possess the same worrying mutations seen in the South African strain and our own home-grown Kent strain – the E484K protein change that allows the virus to partially bypass the immune system and infect those with an immunity to ordinary COVID.
However, despite this mutation, and despite it slipping the net at the border, the Manaus variant isn’t taking off in the UK. The current theory floated in that Times article linked above is that it’s being outcompeted by local strains, so… hurray for us?
There’s also evidence that the vaccines, while not always preventing transmission of the new strains, will prevent serious illness and death – so get your vaccine as soon as you are able, and even if you catch the new strains, you’ll be much more likely to avoid debilitation or death.
Every single COVID infection is an opportunity for the virus to mutate into new forms, and you may have noticed that there are plenty of those infections currently going on across the world. We WILL see new mutant forms of the virus, and may even see vaccine-defeating examples, so keep your cupboard full, make sure you’re ready for supply-chain disruption, and stay sharp.