A Unique SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein P681H Variant Detected in Israel

The routine detection, surveillance, and reporting of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants is crucial, as these threaten to hinder global vaccination efforts.

We report a novel local variant with a non-synonymous mutation in the spike (S) protein P681H. This local Israeli variant was not associated with a higher infection rate or higher prevalence. Furthermore, the local variant was successfully neutralized by sera from fully vaccinated individuals at a comparable level to the B.1.1.7 variant and an Israel wild-type strain. While it is not a variant of concern, routine monitoring by sequencing is still required.

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