Covid horror warning as fears erupt over 'alarming' vaccine-resistant 'New York' variant

THE rise of a mutant strain of COVID-19 in New York City, which appears to be at least partially resistant to vaccinations, has been highlighted in a new scientific report – with its authors describing the situation as “alarming”.

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The report, published by a team of scientists from Columbia University in the scientific journal Nature, highlights two signature , E484K, and N501Y. Lead author David Ho and his team warned the strain, B.1.526, also known as the Iota , showed worrying similarities with other of concern.

They wrote: “Recent months have seen surges of SARS-CoV-2 infection across the globe with considerable viral evolution1–3.

“Extensive mutations in the spike protein may threaten the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies4.”

E484K played a crucial role in the loss of neutralising activity of antibodies, while N501Y is a driver of rapid worldwide transmission of the B.1.1.7 lineage also known as the alpha variant, which emerged last December, the report said.

New York City

New York City was badly impacted by COVID-19 last year (Image: GETTY)

Nurse Brooklyn hospital

A nurse at Brooklyn Hospital last year (Image: Reuters)

It added: “This variant is partially or completely resistant to two therapeutic monoclonal antibodies in clinical use and less susceptible to neutralisation by convalescent plasma or vaccinee sera, posing a modest antigenic challenge.

“The B.1.526 lineage has now been reported from all 50 states in the United States and numerous other countries.

“B.1.526 rapidly replaced earlier lineages in New York upon its emergence, with an estimated transmission advantage of 35 percent.

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Coronavirus New York

A temporary field hospital for the treatment of coronavirus patients in Central Park last year (Image: GETTY)

“Such transmission dynamics, together with the relative antibody resistance of its E484K sub-lineage, probably contributed to the sharp rise and rapid spread of B.1.526.

“Although SARS-CoV-2 B.1.526 initially outpaced B.1.1.7 in the region, its growth subsequently slowed concurrent with the rise of B.1.1.7 and ensuing variants.”

Speaking to Columbia’s website in February, Mr Ho said: “The rise of these variants shows that we may be chasing after SARS-CoV-2 for some time.


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Motorists New York

Motorists in New York are urged to wear masks (Image: GETTY)

Columbia University

The study was undertaken by scientists at Columbia University (Image: GETTY)

“Unfortunately, this pandemic may not go away so easily with the advent of the vaccines.”

Co-author Anne-Catrin Uhlemann added: “It’s worrying that in the New York City region, case numbers don’t seem to be declining as rapidly as in other areas of the country.

“Physical distancing and masks will slow the spread of all variants, and we need to double down on those efforts.”

Global coronavirus figures

Global coronavirus figures (Image: Express)

In New York State as a whole, there have been a total of 2,241,468 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center in the US.

There has been a total of 54,054 deaths, while 23,969,123 vaccines have been administered to 11,512,007, with 58.82 percent of the population now fully vaccinated.

New York City was one of the first areas of the US to be badly impacted by COVID-19 last year.

Coronavirus variant names

Coronavirus variant names (Image: Express)

One study published last year suggested at one point, one-fifth of its citizens was infected with coronavirus antibodies.

The study was conducted through 3,000 randomly selected people across the state.

Subjects were chosen at supermarkets and had their blood using a finger-prick test from the state’s health department.

The New York health department asked about how accurate their study was, said only that it was “very accurate.”

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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