Viruses are not stable. This means that they keep changing, often causing new strains, variants of another virus. Usually, a variant does not impact a virus’s work but can behave differently on several occasions.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists are tasked to track the behavior and changes of the virus that causes COVID-19. After their research, the experts understand the different variants and how they are spreading, their effect on people’s health, and the impact of various vaccines on them.
New Coronavirus Variants in Brazil, U.K, and Africa
In January 2021, scientists detected a new variant of COVID-19 in people from Brazil who traveled to Japan. By the end of January, this variant had reached the U.S.
This variant was different from the previous strains as it was more contagious and even infected people who recovered from COVID-19. This study was from a report about a 29-year-old woman infected after recovering from COVID-19 a few months before.
Further research concluded that the variant was changing to make it escape antibodies from your body or a vaccine that helps you fight coronavirus. However, a lab study shows that BioNTech’s and Pfizer’s vaccines can counterbalance the fast-spreading Brazil variant. But, there’s still a need for more research.
At the end of 2020, scientists detected different gene mutations in COVID-19 patients in southeastern England. This variant continues to be reported in other countries, even the U.S. moreover, scientists show that this variant could spread more quickly from a 70% estimate of transmission. Still, another research has connected this variant to a higher risk of death, though the evidence isn’t solid.
The U.K variant also targets the spike protein, which is the target of the COVID-19 vaccine. These vaccines create antibodies that combat the spike protein, which will make the new variant less effective.
In Africa, new variants are detected in South Africa and Nigeria. Subsequently, the South Africa variant seems to be spreading quickly but has a weaker impact of not causing worse illnesses.
Previous Coronavirus Variants
At the beginning of 2020, there were stories of several variants when the pandemic was new. At that time, the stories seemed genuine.
This theory of several variants originated from a study in China. Scientists were studying the variations in coronavirus RNA, trying to establish the relationship between several variants. In this research, they looked at 103 samples of coronavirus in people and others from animals. As a result, they figured that the coronavirus from people was not all the same.
Furthermore, the experts named two common types as L and S. Even though they are common, they have a slight difference. S type was the first outbreak; however, L type was the most common in the first outbreak.
Because change is the nature of viruses, rest assured that the COVID-19 virus will keep changing. This means that scientists will still find new variants. As a result of the changes, it is hard to predict what will happen.