Viruses change naturally over time. This change occurs via a process known as mutation. When a virus mutates, new variants may develop. This happens to all viruses, and SARS-CoV-2 is no exception to this.
As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, medical researchers and clinicians have detected new variants of the coronavirus around the world.
Examples of the variants include:
· B.1.1.7 (first detected in the UK)
· B.1.351 (first detected in South Africa)
· P.1 (first detected in Brazil).
Apart from these, there are other variants in circulation, and since they have emerged recently, there’s still much that’s yet to be discovered about coronavirus variants. These include:
· The exact extent to which they’ve spread around the world
· If they cause worse illness than earlier versions of the virus
· The impact that virus mutation has on existing treatments, tests, and vaccines.
In this article, I will explain the new deadly covid strain.
Here’s a bit of genetics.
Humans share a common genome. However, this genome varies from person to person. The variations in this genome account for the differences in hair color, height, and other traits — this is what is referred to as a phenotype.
In the same way, SARS-CoV-2 viruses share a genome that varies slightly from person to person.
Each time a virus replicates, one of the letters in the genome may be miswritten. Coronaviruses are great at proofreading, but who’s to say that a mistake cannot be made? This is what causes genetic mutations, and it is normal.
If a mutation makes it difficult for a virus to replicate — let’s say it causes a physical change that hampers its ability to penetrate the host’s cell, the virus will die, and the mutation goes with it. But, conversely, if a mutation gives the virus a competitive advantage, it will spread very fast — faster than its rivals.
In some cases, a virus with a specific mutation may take off because it is fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, and so, it gets in on the ground floor of an outbreak. This is referred to as the founder effect.
It is important to note that it becomes a new variant when a mutation alters a virus genome.
You see, the distinction between a strain and a variant hinge on the behavior of the virus.
Variants are genomes with different sequences. A variant is a strain with a different phenotype.
Well, I’ll straightforwardly answer this:
There’s no new strain of COVID.
What we have is a new variant. I have explained what a variant is. You can call it a new mutation of the COVID. A variant differs from a strain. A new strain has almost a different structure. But in the case of a variant, there are only very slight changes in it. It is important to note that if a virus undergoes a slight change, it doesn’t necessarily change in function. What’s more? There’s also no evidence that the new variant is more pathogenic than the old original version.
Take a close look, and you’ll observe that the spread is occurring in countries experiencing the winter season. Remember that during the cold, your nose may start running, you may sneeze more frequently, maybe cough a little bit more, and if you are infected, those fluids can be transmitted with ease because, at this point, your body is releasing more fluids. In addition, your vitamin D levels are also deficient at this time. Finally, it is worth mentioning that vitamin D plays a significant role in fortifying the immune system.
Yes, COVID-19 is genetically stable. It mutates at a much slower rate than influenza. Variations may occur not more than twice a month, meaning that it is pretty slow.
So, when next you hear that a deadly strain colonizes the world, you could explain to them the difference between a variant and a strain.