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