A woman who tested positive for a new variant of coronavirus has shared her symptoms.
She told how she tested positive for the E484K mutation believed to have emerged first in Liverpool.
The woman from Wirral, who asked to remain anonymous, tested positive for the Variant Under Investigation in January.
She told the Liverpool Echo about her symptoms – saying it started with the signs of a common cold.
She said: “I had a streaming cold and then lost my sense of taste and smell in January.
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“There was talk of us having the South African variant, but it’s now said to be this mutation.
“We were sent antibody kits and asked to take samples of blood for analysis.
“It was worrying to not be in the picture of what I had for quite some time, and having to push for information.”
Up to 58 cases of the recently discovered mutation of Covid-19 have now been identified in the Merseyside region, according to official figures.
More cases of the E484K mutation have cropped up in recent weeks, although the numbers are considered to be low.
It initially became apparent when the cluster was traced back to employees at Liverpool Women’s Hospital after a number of staff members attended a funeral in the city.
This mutation has been identified around the Liverpool City Region, as well as in Warrington, Preston and West Lancashire.
A spokeswoman for Public Health England said: “NHS Test and Trace currently activates surge testing in areas where Variants of Concern are identified.
“The variant identified in Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Preston and West Lancashire has recently been classified a ‘variant under investigation’ (VUI) by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG).
“Specialist public health teams are following up all cases with this variant and are monitoring the situation closely.
“Currently surge testing is not being activated for VUIs, but this remains under close review and local authorities continue to target existing testing resources in areas where cases of the VUI have been found.”
The E484K mutation is reported to result in weaker neutralisation by antibodies in lab experiments .
Authorities say it may need further investigation to understand more on immune response and how well vaccines work against it.
A cluster of an initial five cases was detected on January 10 among the Liverpool hospital staff who had attended an event outside the hospital, believed to be a funeral.