Jakarta (ANTARA) – The N439K mutation causes the SARS-CoV-2 virus, causal to the COVID-19 outbreak, to avoid antibodies, according to the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI).
“The N439K mutation can also cause the virus to escape from several virus-neutralizing antibodies that are formed from the Wuhan variant,” Head of Applied Genetic Engineering and Design Protein Laboratory of LIPI Dr.rer.nat Wien Kusharyoto stated when contacted by ANTARA here on Friday.
Kusharyoto expounded that the N439K mutation was first reported in Scotland in March 2020 and has currently spread to over 35 nations, including Indonesia. The N439K variant was detected in Indonesia in November 2020.
The N439K mutation is located in the receptor-binding motif (RBM) of the spike protein. RBM is part of the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of the immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein and is the main target of virus-neutralizing antibodies that are formed either owing to viral infection or due to vaccine administration.
According to Kusharyoto, there are indications that the mutation increases the affinity or ability to bind to the virus with the ACE-2 receptor in humans, and there is a slight increase in viral content when infected by a variant with the mutation, though does not exacerbate the disease.
N439K mutations have existed in Indonesia since November 2020. In Indonesia, other coronavirus variants include B117 from the UK and D614G.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin had earlier stated that one of the characteristics of the new variant of the N439K coronavirus was that it disappeared faster.
The Task Force for the Indonesian Doctors Association (Satgas IDI) reported 48 cases of the new coronavirus variant of N439K in Indonesia.
Source: Antara News