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The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage worldwide, with the most recent development being reports of multiple emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. This comes even in light of the approval of a number of the most promising vaccine candidates internationally.
The SARS-CoV-2 variants include the following:
1. SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01 (Variant Under Investigation, year 2020, month 12, variant 01), which has been identified through viral genomic sequencing in the United Kingdom (UK). It is defined by multiple spike protein mutations (deletion 69-70, deletion 144, N501Y, A570D, D614G, P681H, T716I, S982A, D1118H) present.
2. SARS-CoV-2 (501Y.V2 or B.1.351) is a new variant discovered in South Africa and defined by multiple non-synonymous mutations in the spike (S) protein. Three of these mutations are located on the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein (K417N, E484K and N501Y) – the most notable being the N501Y mutation on the receptor binding motif that binds to the human Angiotensin Converting Enzyme-2 (hACE2) receptor.
3. S:P681H is a phylogenetically similar but homoplasic variant with a non-synonymous SNP, which was detected by the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Redeemer’s University, Nigeria.
In Guyana, we at Eureka Medical Laboratories Inc. wish to reiterate our commitment to meeting the diagnostic challenges that identifying these variants may pose. We would like to reassure our valued customers and partners that the assays we are currently using to detect SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) are capable of successfully identifying persons with either the common strain of the virus or its mutated variants.
We will continue to remain vigilant and proactive to ensure that the quality of testing that we provide meets the most rigorous international standards, and that the expectations of all of our customers are met.