Another threat had been present during the pandemic when a new mutation of the SARS-Cov-2 virus emerged across countries. According to recent studies and research on this virus’s newest mutation, experts have emphasized that the new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread to other people at a faster-growing speed.
While the detection of the new virus causes further concerns to people worldwide, it is also undeniable that technological advancements involved in detecting the variants also contribute to higher awareness in learning more about the virus.
Additionally, here are some details you need to know about the latest mutation of the COVID-19 virus for you to stay informed and aware.
The New COVID-19 Strain
It is natural for viruses such as the SARS-Cov-2 to change through mutation, causing new variants to emerge over time. While some variants manage to persist and help the virus survive and reproduce, some mutations also disappear as they make mistakes that could be lethal to their nature in making copies of themselves.
Scientists have been closely observing three rapidly spreading variants: B.1.1.7 identified in the UK, B.1.351 that emerged from South Africa, and P.1 detected in Brazil. These variants make the experts worry due to the range of their mutation.
How fast is it spreading?
The way variants seemed to make the virus more easily transmissible than its earlier versions currently concern many health experts. Professor Paul Tambayah, the Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology president, discussed how the mutation is around ten times more infectious in the laboratory going from cell to cell. However, he also adds the uncertainty of the mutation being more infectious from human to human.
Are the COVID-19 variants more contagious?
The B.1.1.7. variant from the UK has heightened transmissibility, according to epidemiological data. On the other hand, epidemiologists from South Africa estimated that the B.1.351 variant is about 50% more contagious than the virus’s dominant lineages.
However, virologists conclude that it is still too early to tell whether the P.1 variant detected in Brazil is more contagious than the earlier versions of the virus.
While the new variants of COVID-19 could be more transmittable, it does not seem like the illness is more severe to the symptomatic patients. There is also not enough evidence to confirm whether the new mutations cause milder or more severe disease.
Can the virus potentially mutate any further?
While there is still little data available about the virus mutating any further, it is still unpredictable. Health experts indicate the possibility of the virus’ s microbiology to produce some tight ends that can help in its mutation over time.
In the presence of new variants of the virus, COVID-19 testing matters even more. Today, PCR Tests and fit to fly COVID test become essential travel requirements to confirm if you are not a carrier of the virus and to certify that you are safe to travel.
For more information about the COVID-19 mutation and PCR tests, here is an infographic created and designed by Harley Medic International.