After almost a full year in the Coronavirus pandemic, a new strain of COVID-19 has emerged in many countries around the world. Countries like South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Brazil have seen new strains of the virus infecting people.
The new strain of the Coronavirus is caused by a mutation which can make the virus act differently in a person’s immune system and can be very different from the “original” virus. This is not the first virus to do this. In fact, most, if not all, viruses mutate and change.
“Viral DNA is prone to mutation due to how frequently it reproduces,” Mr. Mitchell, a biology teacher at PVHS, says.
This new variant or strain of the virus is said to be more contagious than the COVID-19 strain that has been circulating around the world for months. Researchers in South Africa believe that the strain discovered there is around 50% more contagious and easily spread.
New strains of the virus have been found in labs in Finland, the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Brazil, and right here in the US. There have been cases found in Montgomery County of the new strain from the UK.
The new strain hasn’t posed a threat to the COVID-19 vaccine, but there is a chance it can change the ways hospitals treat COVID-19. Researchers say that the new strains of the virus could make antibody treatments less effective on COVID-19 patients with the new strain.
All of these new strains are more contagious, which means cases of COVID-19 will likely increase. Researchers don’t know how the disease caused by the strain and the “original” COVID-19 are different. They do know that these strains spread easily from person to person and could cause milder or more severe disease in the public.
Now questions arise about whether or not these new strains will become more common and become the more dominant strain.
“I think we will eventually see many new variants in the future, similar to the flu and will need to continue to find ways/vaccines to combat them,” Mr. Mitchell said.
These new strains could have a large impact on this new year and our daily lives. The best thing we can do is to keep at the six feet distance, wash our hands, and wear our masks.
Sources: wsj.com, cnbc.com, cdc.gov
Photo Source: bbc.com