The mutation, which has been labeled E484K, was also found in the South African variant of the coronavirus.
It was found in 11 samples of some 200,000 that were sequenced.
Sky science correspondent Thomas Moore said this was a “worrying development” because it could mean that previously infected people could be re-infected and could reduce the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.
He said that the evolution of E484K meant that the virus had indeed “developed a superpower” that allowed it not only to infect cells, but also to invade the immune system.
“It changes shape so that antibodies don’t recognize it the same way, and the fact that this mutation has now been detected in some samples of Kent’s variant is a twist – a worrying development.
“This potentially means that people who have already had the infection could be re-infected and also that it could reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine – not completely; the vaccine would still protect against serious infection and death – but maybe it wouldn’t stop it from spreading. ”