Three cases of a new variant of coronavirus have been discovered in the UK.
Public Health England has confirmed that there are three known cases related to variant B.1.526, which is common in New York.
According to Der Spiegel Online, Public Health England says the variant would have been picked up from quarantined travelers after a flight to the UK.
The Spiegel reports that he may have been here for at least a month.
The variant surfaced in New York in November and accounted for 12 percent of all cases in the city last month, according to the scientific journal nature.
Variant B.1.526 can carry a “notorious” mutation called E484K, reports the journal.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the senior public health official dealing with the Covid crisis in America, said this month the variant is spreading “pretty efficient” through the New York area and beyond.
However, according to Public Health England, the cases found in the UK do not have this mutation or the previous S477N mutation predominant in France.
Meera Chand, Incident Director for Public Health England for COVID-19, said: “Public Health England is aware of three UK cases of the B.1.526 line of SARS-CoV-2, which were first discovered in New York.
“None of these cases have the E484K or S477N mutations present in some Variants of Concern. PHE is closely monitoring the situation.
“We are working with partners around the world to identify and mitigate the impact of variants as they arise.”
The British Medical Journal says that the E484K mutation was recorded in South Africa and Brazil and may have an impact on the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Professor Lawrence Young at the University of Warwick said the MailOnline : “This find underscores the importance of keeping an eye on things – we are not out of the woods yet.
“It reinforces the fact that things are looking really good right now, but there is no room for complacency.
“We need to keep Test and Trace running and weed out the inevitable local outbreaks.”
Professor Wendy Barclay, director of the Infectious Disease Department at Imperial College London, told MailOnline that the new variant is unlikely to pose a major threat.
“Only a subset of the B.1.526 line (also known as the New York variant) contains E484K,” she said.
“There are three UK sequences from this line, but none are from the E484K-containing branch and so are unlikely to pose a major threat (at least when compared to the Brazilian / P.1 or South Africa / B.1.351 lines). “
Earlier this month, infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci, however, that variant B.1.526 is not as resistant as the South African variant, warned against “circumventing part of the protection of antibodies against monoclonal antibodies and the vaccine”.