A mutation of the coronavirus disease 2019, labelled N439K and first detected in Indonesia in November 2020, has yet to receive special attention from the World Health Organization (WHO).
“This is actually a single mutation. There is only one mutation in this type of variant. This type of variant is not the one that draws special attention from WHO,” Vaccination spokesperson for the Health Ministry Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi said on Sunday.
She said the N439K mutation was found earlier than the British B117 variant. However, WHO has paid special attention only to the new variants from the United Kingdom, B1351 from South Africa, and P1 from Brazil.
The Health Ministry in Indonesia have alleged that there are various variants of the coronavirus in Indonesia, such as D614G, B117, and N439K.
She believes that WHO will conduct a wider study on the N439K mutation.
“We don’t know whether this virus is one that deserves special attention or not,” she said.
The new coronavirus variant of N439K is the same as the variant of D614G, a mutation in the virus.
According to a recent journal, N439K could camouflage the production of antibodies, she said.
She said that usually, the WHO would make an announcement after conducting studies with experts from various countries, including a study on the level of malignancy of the N439K coronavirus that might aggravate the Covid-19 disease.
“So indeed this virus is a new variant of the coronavirus. This variant is in and attached to the ace receptor. This virus is reported to be stronger. But the findings are based on the results of a trial. It means that only one journal has reported the new variant. And we haven’t heard what this virus looks like from the WHO,” she explained.
She ensured that their government was always aware of the spread of the coronavirus mutation.
“Mutations are always monitored by the government, as we know that mutations always occur, and that is the character of the virus. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has said that indeed the state must pay attention to the development of these virus mutations,” she said.
Meanwhile, she also continues to urge the public to wear masks, wash hands with soap, maintain social distance, stay away from crowds, and limit mobility as effective ways to prevent transmission of the virus, in addition to the 3T protocol (testing, tracing and treatment).
“Then, if we experience symptoms, immediately identify and have ourselves checked. Then the current vaccine is also a way to fight so that we don’t get sick because of exposure to Covid-19,” Tarmizi said.