a patient in the UK or has been imported from a country with a lower ability to monitor coronavirus mutations.
The variant can be found across the UK, except Northern Ireland, but it is heavily concentrated in London, the South East, and eastern England. Cases elsewhere in the country do not seem to have taken off.
Data from Nextstrain, which has been monitoring the genetic codes of the viral samples around the world, suggest cases in Denmark and Australia have come from the UK. The Netherlands has also reported cases.
What Does All This Mean?
According to a report by The New York Times, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines induce an immune response only to the spike protein carried by the coronavirus on its surface. But each infected person produces a large, unique, and complex repertoire of antibodies to this protein.
“The fact is that you have a thousand big guns pointed at the virus,” said Kartik Chandran, a virologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “No matter how the virus twists and weaves, it’s not that easy to find a genetic solution that can really combat all these different antibody specificities, not to mention the other arms of the immune response.”
In short: It will be very hard for the coronavirus to escape the body’s defenses, despite the many variations it may adopt.