Jakarta-Indonesia reported the first case of a new, more contagious variant of COVID-19 known for reduced vaccine protection.
The new variants include the E484K mutation found in the first variants identified in South Africa and Brazil.
It is called “Eek” by some scientists because of its apparent ability to avoid innate immunity from previous COVID-19 infections and reduce the protection provided by current vaccines.
Siti Nadia Tarmizi, a senior health ministry official, said on Tuesday that a case of one variant had recovered and was not infected with close contact, adding that the vaccine currently available in Indonesia can withstand the mutation. ..
However, Herawati Sudoyo, deputy director of basic research at the Akeman Institute, which is government-funded and specializes in medical molecular biology and biotechnology, said the ability of mutation-resistant vaccines to withstand mutations has not yet been determined.
The first case of the variant occurs when the country prepares for a reduction in the supply of COVID-19 vaccine due to export restrictions on AstraZeneca shots imposed by manufacturer India to prioritize domestic supply.
Indonesian health minister said Monday that of the 30 million doses ordered for delivery from March to April, only 20 million were available for export restrictions.
He called for the vaccination program to be readjusted and prioritized for the elderly.
With approximately 1.54 million cases and 41,900 deaths to date, Indonesia has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia and is one of the worst epidemics in Asia.
Its vaccination program aims to inoculate 181 million people and relies heavily on the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac due to the delay in shipping the AstraZeneca vaccine.