The world is worried as coronavirus isn’t leaving despite many efforts. Unfortunately, after every few months, a new variant is born that is even worse than the previous ones in some cases. However, the vaccination is a good obstruction in the spread of this contagious virus. You might have heard about the delta variant dominating the world. But have you ever thought of the other coronavirus variants? How are different coronavirus variants born? Well, this question has been puzzling many brains out there, but we’ve got a brief explanation of them for you! So, read the whole article to saturate your knowledge.
A natural process that aids the virus to survive amid hurdles leads to the production of a new variant. Mutations are natural. A virus in a while goes through a mutation that does not change its behavior. However, it might affect the spreading rate and its danger risk. So, “Mutation” is the reason behind the birth of new variants.
“Viruses carrying these mutations can then increase in frequency due to natural selection, given the right epidemiological settings,”Dr van Dorp
There are constant mutations in coronavirus as soon as it spreads. However, WHO has divided the strains into two classes. The most important strains that are grabbing global attention are classified under “Variants of concern.” The other ones are less contagious and are emerging as a risk to public health, WHO explains. These are called “Variants of interests.”
As soon as the new variants kept on emerging, WHO started giving them names after Greek Letters. Well, the only good covid19 did to students is helping them remember Greek counting. Apart from jokes, till now, following coronavirus variants are recognized internationally,
Alpha (origin=UK) | UK Variant
This strain led to record-breaking surges in UK and Europe by the end of 2020. It was first discovered in November 2020. Scientists think this variant has a greater risk of dying and is way more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2.
The reason for its contagious nature is the mutation in spike protein. It is more likely to bind the affected cells and thereby remain attached for a longer duration. Hence, it is easily transmitted. An ecological study suggests no differences in the fatality rate overall. Studies show that all the vaccines available right now act against the UK variant.
Beta (origin= South Africa)
Spike protein helps the virus enter the human body, and Beta also has a mutated spike protein (EeK mutation). The strain spread like a fir in South Africa. However, it didn’t spread on a global level. It is also 50% more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2.
The vaccines are less effective for this variant. AstraZeneca couldn’t protect the affected individuals. The effectiveness rate of the Johnson & Johnson covid19 vaccine also dropped to 57%. However, reports from Pfizer and Moderna claim that mRNA-based vaccines are better, still less responsive against the beta-strain.
Back in December, the Japanese travelers who had returned from Brazil reported this strain for the first time. Gamma raised alarm bells in Brazil and was throughout South America. It also consists of “Eek-mutation,” similar to Beta. It is 1.7-2.4 times transmittable than the original SAR-CoV-2. The vaccines are also well working against this strain.
Delta (origin= India) | double mutant
Delta is the most recent devastating strain, dominating global health. It was identified in India and led to the worst possible circumstances in the country. It is twice the transmitting capability of the original SARS-CoV-2. It’s a two in one virus, having the ability to spread very fast and at the same time affect the immune system in the worst possible way.
It has a double mutation: One that is pretty similar to the EeK Mutation, while the other helps it bind closely to the human cells. Further, the vaccines are also less likely to protect against the variant.
“The delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us and to be an opportunist in areas where we have not shown a fortified response against it,”CDC Director Rochelle Walensky
First, they discovered it in Nigeria. It comes with Eek mutation and also has some changes in the spike protein.
Its origin is the US. It comes with two mutations. One is the Eek mutations, and the other one helps it in catching the cells tightly.
Similar to the delta variant, it can easily penetrate the immune system leading to dangerous consequences. However, its spread is suppressed due to the rise in delta strain.
It was discovered in Latin America and had some serious mutations too.
The epsilon variant has a 20% increased transmission rate. It was first identified in California. Recently, it has made its way through the city of Pakistan, Lahore. The Punjab government generated a threat alert as health experts reported 5 new cases of epsilon strain in Lahore.