Although most of us first heard of Coronaviruses last year when Covid-19 brought the world to its knees, the viruses aren’t new. They’re a large group of RNA viruses, named corona for their spike-like surface, and have been recognized very infectious for decades now.
Like every other virus, the Coronaviruses continually mutate, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 is no exception.
While most of the mutations have little to no impact, every once in a while, these mutations form a variant that completely changes how the virus behaves, and spreads. That is what has been happening recently.
Corona Virus Variants
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been mutating since the beginning of the pandemic. As noted, these mutations tend to be but mere “passengers” of the virus but once in a while, it mutates in a way that helps it survive longer, and spread faster.
That is what has been happening with recent Coronavirus mutations and here are the different variants that are out there currently.
SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01 Variant
SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01 is the UK variant. It stands for Variant of concern, year 2020, month 12, variant 01 and has been spreading like wildfire in the country. The variant was first discovered in a patient in Southeast England on September, but was officially reported on December 14th 2020.
Although it does not make Covid-19 more severe, this variant seems to be making the virus more transmissible. Ever since it was discovered, infections in Southeast England, London and other regions in the country have increased dramatically, with the number of newly reported cases being over 50,000 since December 28th.
Even though it’s unclear where the variant came from, scientists suspect and are researching on whether it might have emerged from individuals with weak immune systems who already had coronavirus infections.
It spreads quickly than other variants and is associated with increased death risk compared to other variants. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
The N501Y variant was discovered on December 18th, just a few days after the UKs variant was announced. It was named the N501Y.V2 variant due to its spike protein. Similar to the UK variant, it is also more transmissible.
What makes it a major concern is because unlike other variants, it doesn’t contain other mutations. That means there’s a probability it might be more resistant to current vaccines.
Besides N501Y, the CDC also reported another variant called the B.1.351. It was detected in October 2020, and some cases of Coronavirus infections caused by this variant have already been reported in the U.S.
The P.1 Variant
This variant was reported in Brazil. It was first identified in Japan, in four travelers from Brazil. The newly discovered mutant is said to share similar mutations with the UK and South African variants, and as such, increases the transmissibility of the Coronavirus. However, it is reported to have additional mutations which make antibodies unable to recognize it, making it more dangerous.
Take the Necessary Measures Today
Given the new and fast-spreading Covid-19 variants, it’s safe to say that we’re nowhere near normalcy. Although things aren’t as bad as they were in 2020, they’ll be if these new variants continue to come up, and if we don’t take the measures to contain their spread.
That said, if you have already reopened, it’s critical you continue to observe Covid-19 safety measures, and maximize on our highly efficient reopening tools here at Safeter.