CHP’s response to media enquiries on COVID-19 case with N501Y mutant strain


     In response to media enquiries on the genetic sequence of a confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that carried the N501Y mutant strain, a spokesman for the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (June 6) provided information as follows:

     As part of CHP’s epidemiology investigations, genetic sequencing had been performed for case 11852 involving N501Y mutant strain (a 17-year-old female) and it was confirmed to be the Alpha variant strain (i.e. B.1.1.7). The Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) of the DH had compared the sequence to PHLSB’s available B.1.1.7 genomes from the previous confirmed cases reported in Hong Kong and the result revealed that the genomes from case 11852 were not similar to those available B.1.1.7 genomes. 

     In parallel, with the assistance of the health authority of Guangdong, the CHP had also obtained the genetic sequence of recent cases in Shenzhen and found that the genomes from case 11852 were not similar to those strains. 

     The CHP’s epidemiological investigation of the case is ongoing and further genetic analysis and comparison with recent imported cases with N501Y mutant strain are continuing.