COVID-19 is one of the deadly and most intelligent viruses of all time. While the world was battling with one type of COVID-19, new variants were forming to defeat every battle that humankind is trying to formulate against this virus. Most countries have new variants that lead to many problems, like different treatment plans for each variant. Furthermore, experts and their work on vaccination production are also in question. In this blog, we discuss different COVID-19 Variants in South Africa, Brazil, and the UK.
These variants are spreading worldwide, making the work even more challenging for scientists. Health professionals discovered variants from Brazil are now found in the UK and must have traveled from Brazil to the UK by some carrier. To avoid further spreading this deadly variant, the search to trace down such people is going on. Since some of these variants are stronger, there is a substantial risk that vaccines may not work.
New Variants of COVID-19
To start with, there are several latest variants of Coronavirus. Following are some of the most concerning and most well-known variants of COVID-19:-
- A brazil variant known as P.1 is the most common one of the variants of Coronavirus.
- A UK variant known as the Kent Variant is B.1.1.7. This variant dominates most of Britain and has almost spread to more than 50 countries; this virus has also been mutating, which is quite concerning because people are still trying to deal with the current variant.
- A variant found in South Africa is the B.1.351 is another variant that has spread a lot, and this variant has spread to almost 20 countries now and is still spreading.
The variants shouldn’t be confused with new viruses because they are not. When the viruses duplicate in that process as a survival instinct, they change their nuclear structure. These changes may sometimes also be harmful to the viruses themselves, but it is usually to show resistance to all the possible treatments against viruses. This way, the disease becomes more infectious, making it impossible for you to find a solution and making it even harder for medical professionals to save lives.
How Harmful Are These Latest Variants of COVID-19?
The new variants’ harmfulness is no different from the original COVID-19 virus in the complications it causes within the body. The original variant was more harmful to people above 60 with some serious underlying illnesses. The only change in these variants is that they are easy to spread and spread more within your body.
However, the variant found in the UK or the Kent variant has increased 30 percent risk of death. Besides, experts based this assumption on a minimal amount of data. So, nothing can be said unless more research is done on this new strain and more data is collected.
No variant of virus can harm you unless you are careful. With these new variants, you need to be extra cautious even though activities worldwide have been resumed, but still, you need to maintain the distance as much as possible. Prevention should be the key to this virus, so ensure you take all the preventive measures by washing your hands.
Since new variants can spread quickly, all you need to do is add extra care to your routine, make sure you are washing your hands properly, and not shake hands with people. Keeping a 6 feet distance from them and wearing your mask whenever you are in the presence of someone else.
How is the Virus Changing?
Understanding this change in the virus is very important for understanding these new variants that you might face. In addition, it is crucial to update yourself about the COVID-19 so that you can brace yourself for any new variant. This way, you will know when the cases are high in number, and you need to keep your distance from the people. With the reports of these new variants of South Africa, the UK, and Brazil, these are more contagious.
The thing common between these three new variants is that they have spiked their proteins, which are the virus’s main body. Consequently, it attaches itself to the human body with the help of proteins. With this altered version, the virus has improved itself in infecting human beings and thus can spread quickly.
Experts saw the appearance of the UK or Kent variant of the COVID-19 in September 2020, and at first, it was considered 70 percent more infectious than the original version of the virus. However, since then, experts have made many reports showing that this variant is only 30 to 50 percent more infectious than the original version of COVID-19. As a result, public Health England formed this latest report.
The Brazil variant keeps making more changes ever since experts discovered this variant in October 2020. The virus’s changes are in the spiked protein of its structure. The changes in the UK variant of the virus have also shown some of the changes in its structure, and that is concerning as facing these new variants each day will cause more problems for the people.
The mutation that the UK variant has made of the vaccine is E484K. This mutation will help the virus escape the antibodies formed due to the vaccine or prior experience of the immune system with the COVID-19. Based on this, the vaccine that scientists have worked on will be useless for so long, and you will still be at risk of infection despite getting the vaccine.
Are There Doubts About the Working of the Vaccine?
Since experts designed these vaccines for the early variant of the coronavirus and many more variants of this virus have emerged, people have their doubts about the working of these vaccines. However, scientists still think that these vaccines will work despite the mutations.
Some of the studies suggest otherwise. For instance, a study in Brazil showed that the virus might be resistant to the antibodies developed by the previous infection in those people. Thus, even though they have recovered from the earlier version of coronavirus, this new variant still attacks them.
Since many companies are working to make the vaccine, Pfizer’s vaccine has shown some promising results in fighting against these variants in early lab reports. Nothing can be said for certain except the clinical trials are in action. Novovax and Janssen have produced two vaccines that have also shown some of the protections against some new variants and will be approved very soon.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca data shows that the vaccine will protect against the new UK variant, and it will not work well with the South African variant and will still provide some protection.
The Modern vaccine may not protect for very long but still provides better protection against the coronavirus’s South African variant. Moreover, all these vaccines work well against the virus, and you should get them as they will provide you better protection compared to no vaccine at all.
Authorities Take Steps to Tackle New Variants
Changes in the vaccines can be made later on as the new variants emerge because that is possible. The same happens with flu vaccines as well. People get new flu shots each year as there are changes in the influenza viruses. Authorities should do the same for the COVID-19 vaccine as well.
The pharmaceutical research companies are all ready to find the new variants that have been formed and are trying to make vaccines against those variants. The UK government has signed a contract with a CureVac company to make a vaccine against the new future variants of the virus. It has already pre-ordered 50 million vaccines from them.