So what are the new variants? And what do we know about them? There are three variants of the sasko v2 virus that scientists especially worried about, and these have taken hold on three different continents: europe, africa and south america. Scientists have given them different code names that distinguish them from the other circulating forms of the pandemic virus in europe. A strain dubbed the b117 lineage emerged in southeast england in september that strain contributed to a spike in cases in december that sent the uk back into lockdown health officials have warned the strain could become dominant in the us as soon as march. In southern africa. Hospitals are facing pressure from a resurgence driven by the 501 y v2 variant that was first detected in nelson mandela bay in south africa in early october. Since then, it’s led to a steep rising cases across nine southern african countries, as well as the seychelles and mauritius. In mid january, our case was reported in denmark and in brazil. Researchers are warning that a so called p1 variant, spotted in amazonis in december, could be aggravating an outbreak there. Are they more transmissible or more deadly? Well, the current evidence is that these new variants are indeed more transmissible, that is, they are more easily transmitted from one person to another than the other sasko v2 variants in circulation, but scientists so far don’t believe these variants are more likely to cause severe illness or Are more deadly but since these variants are more contagious, more people are getting covered and, as a result, more people are needing to be hospitalized and a small subset of those are dying.

So these variants are more serious Music. What causes new variants or mutations? Well, viruses mutate all of the time as they infect cells and replicate the genetic material, often making mistakes in the process. Sometimes these changes weaken the virus, and sometimes the mutations can make the virus better, giving it some advantage over other variants. When these mutations give the new variant an advantage, they can proliferate and become the dominant strain affecting people and that’s. What we’ve seen with these three variants from europe, africa and south america scientists pay most attention to mutations in the gene that encodes the cysco v2 viruses spike protein, which plays a key role in viral entry into cells. Vaccines are also designed such that when we are immunized, we generate antibodies that recognize features of the spike protein and then grab hold of the virus and stop it from infecting cells in our body. So mutations in the gene that encodes for the spike protein are worrisome. Music will vaccines still work well so far. It seems that the currently available vaccines will still be effective and that’s, because the antibodies generated in response to the vaccine detect a number of features of the spike protein, so they can still recognize these variants. We also have t cells, a type of white white blood cell that can detect and kill the coronavirus once inside our cells over time as more mutations occur, vaccines may need to be altered and this happens annually with a seasonal flu which evolves quickly.

Unlike flu, coronaviruses have a genetic self correcting mechanism that minimizes the mistakes they make.