Two more Covid mutation cases discovered in England

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Two cases of a new coronavirus strain first reported in the Philippines have been found in England.

Public Health England said the variant contains a number of notable mutations, including the E484K spike protein found in the Manaus variant.

Concerns have been raised that vaccines may not be as effective against this protein.

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The new strain has been designated as a variant under investigation (VUI) rather than a variant of concern, such as the Manaus strain.

Public Health England said one of the cases was linked to international travel and the other is still being investigated, but did not confirm where either had been found.

It came after the Philippines reported 33 cases of a new variant on March 9.

PHE added two more cases of the Manaus variant have been found in the country.

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One was found in the West Midlands and the other in Haringey, London, and both are linked to international travel to Brazil.

The case in the West Midlands was identified in a passenger arriving at Birmingham Airport when they were tested as part of their hotel quarantine process while the London case was picked up through previous surge testing.

PHE said surge testing would be stepped up and both area and contact tracing teams are investigating to identify any further contacts.

It brings the total number of Manaus cases in the UK to 12, all of which have had links to travel from Brazil.