UK scientists, on Tuesday, warned that the highly transmissible and possibly deadlier variant of COVID-19 detected in southern England at the end of last year is showing signs of further mutation.
Although, experts say this change may reduce vaccine effectiveness, the current ones in use should still work.
Urgent testing for the South Africa variant is already starting in parts of England.
The Liverpool area has seen 32 cases of original coronavirus that have the E484K mutation too.
It’s not unexpected that variants are appearing or that they will continue to change – all viruses mutate as they make new copies of themselves to spread and thrive.
A virus expert at the University of Leicester, Dr. Julian Tang, described the finding as “a worrying development, though not entirely unexpected”.
Tang said it was important people follow the lockdown rules and get cases of coronavirus down to prevent opportunities for the virus to mutate further.
“Otherwise not only can the virus continue to spread, it can also evolve.”
The virus expert said that allowing spread could allow a “melting pot” for different emerging variants.
Scientists have already been checking what these new mutations might mean for existing coronavirus vaccines that were designed around earlier versions of the virus that started the pandemic.
BBC quoted a Professor from the University of Cambridge, Ravi Gupta to have said, “This gives us a sign that it has certain favoured routes – and we can work to block those off with a vaccine.”
Jeremy Hunt, former UK health secretary said the race was on to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible in order to keep a step ahead of the virus.