The Ministry of Health ( Kemenkes ) reports that they have found mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus variant E484K aka Eek in Indonesia. The variant was discovered after going through a Whole Genome Sequence (WGS) examination in February 2021.
The Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology (LBM) is concerned that the mutation of the Eek corona virus will have an impact on decreasing the efficacy, aka the efficacy of the Corona virus vaccine currently used.
Here are the facts of the mutation of the Corona SARS-CoV-2 variant Eek:
1. Spread in Japan
In March 2021, as many as 10 of the 14 people who tested positive for Covid-19 at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University Medical Hospital were infected with the Eek coronavirus variant. Meanwhile, based on data from February to March, there were 12 of the 36 Covid patients who carried the Eek corona virus mutation.
This mutation of the corona virus appears in the midst of preparation for Japan to host the Summer Olympics in July.
Based on reports there have been 446 new corona virus infections occurring in Tokyo. This figure is still below the peak transmission rate of 2,500 people in January. In Osaka, reports of new cases of infection emerged breaking a record at 666.
2. Mutations from the corona virus B.1.1.7
The British Public Health Analysis (PHE) found E484K or Eek to be a mutation of the B.1.1.7 corona virus citing BMJ . The B117 corona virus is found in England and South Africa.
3. The mutation occurs in the viral spike protein
The Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology (LBM) is concerned that the mutation of the Eek corona virus will have an impact on decreasing the efficacy results, aka the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine currently used.
Eijkman said the mutation occurred in the spike protein or what is often called the S1 protein. This results in a stronger receptor binding on human cells, which has implications for the rapidity and large number of infections.
Head of LBM Eijkman Amin Soebandrio said the E484K virus could escape from antibodies after vaccination. However, it is still in the research stage.
4. Found in Jakarta since February 2021
The Ministry of Health stated that the case of the Corona Eek mutation that entered Indonesia was found in Jakarta based on a specimen test in February 2021. Currently the individual who has been confirmed positive for exposure to the virus mutation from Japan is healthy and continues to be monitored by the Ministry of Health.
According to the Ministry of Health’s report, exposed individuals did not end up traveling abroad. He stated that the transmission of cases occurred locally.
The Ministry of Health is still monitoring the transmission of the Eek case. To date, no similar cases have been found in other regions in Indonesia.
5. Potential to be transmitted more quickly
Head of LBM Eijkman Amin Soebandrio said the Eek corona variant was reported to have the potential to spread faster.
The Health Ministry’s Director of Direct Contagious Disease Prevention and Control (P2PML) Siti Nadia Tarmizi suspected that the Eek variant had the potential to cause more massive transmission. Moreover, currently there are three variants of the Corona virus that are spread in Indonesia.
All three variants are also reported to have mutations in a spike protein called E484K.