In Tyrol - as in the other provinces - there has been an increased occurrence of different SARS-CoV-2 virus variants in recent months. In February, increased cases of new infections caused by the South African virus variant (B1.351 variant) were reported. The Tyrol is currently concerned about the development of so-called 'escape mutations', especially the B1.1.7-E484K virus variant. This variant is mainly associated with 'antibody escape', whereby poorer neutralization of the viruses by vaccine antibodies has been observed. The combination of the original British virus variant B1.1.7 and the additional mutation E484K shows increased infectivity compared to the British variant B1.1.7. without E484K mutation. Since the emergence of the new virus variants, a SARS-CoV-2 virus variant has been confirmed in a total of 5,364 persons in Tyrol (as of 29/03/2021). Of these, 798 cases (14.9%) were of the South African variant (B1.351), 4,124 were of the British variant (76.9%) without an E484K mutation (B1.1.7), and 442 were of the British variant with an E484K mutation (B1.1.7-E484K; 8.2%).
WILFRIED POSCH*, Institute of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria ELMAR RIZZOLI, Amt der Tiroler Landesregierung, Landes Einsatzleitung Corona, Innsbruck, Austria FRANZ ALLERBERGER, AGES