Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering 2021; 26(6): 859-870  
SARS-CoV-2 Variants: Mutations and Effective Changes
Gene Park and Byeong Hee Hwang
Gene Park
Whitmore School, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA
Byeong Hee Hwang*
Division of Bioengineering, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea
Department of Bio·nanobioengineering, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea
Tel: +82-32-835-8834; Fax: +82-32-835-0804
Received: October 27, 2021; Revised: November 14, 2021; Accepted: November 14, 2021; Published online: December 31, 2021.
© The Korean Society for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
One of the primary threats to the goal of controlling and eventually defeating SARS-CoV-2 is that of mutation. Recognizing this, a great amount of effort and dedicated study is being given to the matter. Due to the novel coronavirus’s general prevalence and rate of mutation, this is an extremely dynamic area with constant new developments. Therefore, understanding the virus’s pathogenesis and how mutations affect it is crucial. This review attempts to aid in understanding the currently most important strains and what primary changes they entail in connection to more specific mutations, and how they each affect infectivity, antigen resistance, and other properties. In an attempt to maintain relevance to the time at which this paper will be published, priority has been given to variants classified by the WHO and the CDC as of Sep. 23, 2021, as “Variants of Concern”. Of particular interest in B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.617.2, P.1 are the mutations affecting the Spike protein and Receptor Binding Domain, as they directly affect infectivity and susceptibility to neutralization. Certain mutations (D614G, E484K, N501Y, K417N, L452R, and P681R) have appeared across several different strains, often accompanied by others that may be complementary working together to confer increased infectivity, fitness, or resistance to neutralization. We anticipate that the understanding of such COVID-19 mutations will, in the near future, prove important for diagnosis, treatment development, and vaccine development.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, variants, mutation, infectivity, neutralization

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