Variants of COVID-19
As viruses are always changing, and result that they can cause a new variant, or strain, of a virus to form. Variants of COVID-19 are becoming a serious matter of concern day by day. A variant usually doesn’t affect how the virus works whereas sometimes they make it act in different ways.
How many Coronaviruses are there?
Coronaviruses didn’t just produce recently. They are a large family of viruses that have been around for a long time. Many of them can cause a variety of illnesses, from mild cough to severe respiratory illnesses.
The new or novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is one of several known viruses to infect humans. This virus is not new to the world, but it is new to humans.
How do variants take birth?
Coronaviruses have all their genetic material in RNA (Ribonucleic Acid). RNA has some similarities to DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), but they are not similar.
When viruses infect a person, they get attached to his cells, get inside the person and make copies of their RNA, which helps them spread. Whenever there happens a copying mistake, RNA gets changed. Scientists call those changes variants. Such changes may happen randomly or by accident.
As because the changes are random, they may make little to no difference in a person’s health. Sometimes, they may cause disease.
If a virus has a random change, it makes it easier to infect people and spread.
All in all, the conclusion is that all viruses including coronaviruses can change over time.
variants of COVID-19
In late 2020, experts noted gene mutations in COVID-19 cases seen in people in southeastern England.
Scientists estimate that these mutations could make the virus up to 70% more transmissible. The mutation on the alpha variant is on the spike protein which helps the virus infect its host. This is what COVID-19 vaccines target. These vaccines make antibodies against many parts of the spike protein, so it’s unlikely that a single new mutation in the alpha variant will make the vaccine less effective.
Also, the other variants of the virus have been found in other countries, including South Africa and Nigeria. The beta variant appears to spread more easily than the original virus but doesn’t seem to cause serious illness.
In January 2021, experts spotted this COVID-19 variant in people from Brazil who had traveled to Japan.
The gamma variant appears to be more contagious than earlier strains of the virus and it may be able to infect people who have already had COVID-19.
Epsilon ( B.1.427)
This variant appears to spread more easily. It reduces the effectiveness of antibodies generated by a previous COVID-19 infection or COVID-19 vaccine.
Delta ( B.1.617.2)
This variant was spotted in India in December 2020. It caused a big increase in Cases in Mid- April 2021. This highly contagious variant is now found in 43 countries including the US, UK, Australia & Singapore.
It is causing more cases in young people which makes it more a variant of a concern.
Earlier variants of COVID-19
Earlier in 2020, when the pandemic was new, You might have heard that there was more than one strain of the new coronavirus.
There were two types, which researchers called “L” and “S”.They were very similar, with slight differences in the two places. It looks like the S type came first. But the scientists say the L type was more common in early outbreaks.
The virus that causes COvid-19 will probably keep changing. Experts may find new variants. It’s impossible to predict how those viruses change with time and what will be going to happen with these changes.
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