Are There Different Strains Of Covid-19?

After developing the new coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, some researchers have suggested that there is one strain and that mutations have led to changes in how infectious and deadly it is. Still, opinions are divided.

Genetic mutations are a common, everyday phenomenon. For example, they can occur each time material is copied.

Since the development of SARS-CoV-2, research studies have highlighted variations in the virus’s sequence. It has prompted discussion about whether or not there are strains, if this impacts how the virus can affect a host and whether or not this affects how many people are dying. 

I had earlier shared The Delta Variant Of Covid Can Still Affect You If You Have Been Vaccinated. I hope you read the post.

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Why are mutations significant?

COVID-19 is a hidden RNA virus, which means that its genetic material is encoded in single-stranded RNA. Inside a host cell, it makes its replication machinery.

RNA viruses have high mutations rates because their replications enzymes are prone to errors when making new virus copies.

“A mutation is a change in a generative sequence.” Thus, the fact of a mutational change is not of importance, but the functional consequences are.”

If a genetic alteration changes the target of a drug or antibody that acts against the virus, those viral particles with the mutation will outgrow those who do not have it.

What's known about the different variants of coronavirus?

Now let’s dig deeper into the widespread coronavirus variants that you may have heard of in the news.

We’ll explore where these variants started and what makes them various from versions of the latest coronavirus.

It’s necessary to note that new variants are being identified each time. Two examples of the variants recently identified in New York and California.

There are likely variants that we don’t know about yet. Scientists are working hard to detect and identify coronavirus variants.

B.1.1.7: The United Kingdom new variant

First detected B.1.1.7 in the U.K. in the fall of 2020-21. It then proceeded to be transmitted rapidly, becoming the dominant strain in the U.K.

This B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in at least 80 other countries worldwide, including the U.K. Public health officials are more concerned than the B1.1.7. a variant may soon become the type of coronavirus in the United States.

How is it different?

The B.1.1.7 variant has mutations that hit the spike protein. This protein is located on the outside of the virus. It’s what the virus uses to bind and enter a host cell in your body.

Some research has seen that B.1.1.7 samples are associated with a virus. Therefore, increased amounts of virus in people who have contracted this variant could make it easier to transmit to other people.

B.1.351: The South African new variant

B.1.351 was identified in South Africa in October 2020. It’s since been identified in at least 40 countries.

How is it different?

B.1.351 contains the spike protein mutations present in B.1.1.7, the variant seen in the U.K. However, it contains some others.

There’s no evidence that B.1.351 causes severe illness than earlier versions of the coronavirus. However, one of the concerns about this variant is its mutations’ effect on immunity.

A 2020-21 study found that this variant could escape antibodies isolated from individuals who had COVID-19.

P.1: The Brazilian variant

P.1 was detected in January 2021 in travelers from Brazil who were tested upon entering Japan.

First found it in the United States in late January 2021. Generally speaking, less is known about this new variant than the other two.

How is it different?

P.1 contains 17 different mutations. These include the vital spike protein mutations present in the variants first identified in the U.K. and South Africa and other mutations.

P.1 was prevalent in samples collected during a January 2021 surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Manaus and brazil.

Will the COVID-19 vaccines give protection against the strains?

To get started, you’ll need to know: Vaccines Covid 19: Is It Safe To Take?

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Large-scale clinical cases of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine found vaccine effectiveness of 95% against the version of the new coronavirus.

This vaccine is authorized for emergency use in the U.K.

Moderna vaccine

The large-scale clinical tests on the Moderna vaccine discovered that vaccine effectiveness was 93.1% against the version of the new coronavirus.

Same as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the U.K.

A study looked into the effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine for the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants. To do this, some researchers used serum from people who had received the Moderna vaccine and test viruses, including the spike proteins from the variants.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the 3 COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in the U.K.

Unlike the Moderna vaccines and Pfizer-BioNTech, it requires one dose.

Other COVID-19 vaccines

Oxford/AstraZeneca

  • The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has an 81.5% effectiveness overall. It’s been found to be 74.5 effective against B.1.1.7. However, it may be 10% effective against B.1.351.

Novavax

  • The Novavax vaccine is 95.5% effective overall. It’s 85.5% effective against B.1.1.7 and 55-60% efficient against B.1.351.

Sinopharm

  • This vaccine, produced in China, has an effectiveness of 79.35%. However, reports indicate that it’s less effective against B.1.351.

Conclusion

All viruses mutate, including the new coronavirus. Several variants of the coronavirus have been identified.

Research into the identified coronavirus variants is an evolving area of study. Additionally, it will detect new coronavirus modifications as the coronavirus remains to circulate.

One of the good things you can do to protect from the coronavirus and its variants is to get vaccinated.

Be sure to talk to the doctor about when you’ll be available to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Still have any questions about Strains of Covid 19? Ask in the comments section!

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