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    The present pandemic is caused by the spread of COVID-19 virus/ the SARS-CoV-2. The genome is a single-stranded RNA virus. Recently, its new variants have been observed which includes the U.K., South Africa and  Brazilian variants. These variants are the outcome of a biological process known as MUTATION.


  • Each organism carries a genetic material which is known as DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and RNA (ribo-nucleic-acid).

  • Faster transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in masses is responsible for arrival of more strong and dominant variants.

  • MUTATION: in simple terms it refers to any significant change in the genetic material of an organism. RNA as a genetic material is more prone to mutations as compared to DNA.

  • Repeated and more frequent replication/ copying of genetic material (due to more transmission) is responsible for mutation to occur.

Concerns related to the mutation of the virus:

  • Transmission efficiency:

    • The new variants have higher transmission rate and are responsible for the second wave of pandemic in several countries including India.

  • Virulence:

    • Virulence means the propensity of the virus to cause severe/life threatening disease.

    • On this parameter, the U.K. variant is the worst.

    • The south Afircan and Brazilian variants are not much virulent.

  • Escape from immunity cover provided by vaccination:

    • Vaccines which are made using the antigens have less efficacy against the South African variant, it was still better against the Brazilain variant.

    • However, the mRNA based viruses such a s Moderna and Pfizer were more effective against both these variants. 

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