Experts warn that more "super-covid" variants are coming all around the globe. As Daily Mail reports, the rise of about 230,000 cases in a day is triggering the virus to mutate at a higher rate. It may have higher chances of beating people with weak immune systems such as those with chronic infections.
"The uptick in mutations (we are seeing) is expected because there is more circulation of the virus, and more chances for a mutation to occur.", according to Dr Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist with the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation through his interview with DailyMail.
According to Scientists, more coronavirus infections and more cases of people who have contracted the disease would also mean more variants of the COVID-19 will emerge. What happens is that when more people have the disease, more will become chronic. The long range of infections will give the virus more opportunity to eventually mutate in ways to infect the human cells and target the immune system.
Reports show that the earliest variant of the virus called 20C-US was first spotted at Houston Texas in May last year. A third homegrown virant of the virus was then founded by a team of researchers from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. In July, a process of Genome sequencing of about 57,000 samples has confirmed the rise of a new variant. This study has been uploaded on the GISAID database.
About late last year between November to December, the research team found out that the new variant 20C-US has already occupied 50% of the sequenced genomes. The 20C-US variant is not found to have significantly spread in other areas, although it is prevalent in eastern states and upper midwest countries.
New Coronavirus Variants are 'More Infectious' but Not More Deadly
The same theory on how the virus mutates is how scientists think the UK variant, B117, arose. On the other hand, the variant for US has doubled. Scientists think that they appear to be more infectious. However, they aren't reported to be more deadly.
After ~10 months of relative quiescence we've started to see some striking evolution of SARS-CoV-2 with a repeated evolutionary pattern in the SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern emerging from the UK, South Africa and Brazil. 1/19— Trevor Bedford (@trvrb) January 14, 2021
On Thursday, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center scientist Dr Trever Bradford posted a twitter update about the rise of the mutation in some countries like UK, Brazil and South Africa. So far, there has already been three variants of the virus that have been found. However, researchers still assume that the 20C-US may be the strongest variant yet. It is now taking a toll in about 50% of cases in the US.
Prfizer and Moderna Vaccines Still Likely to Give Protection
Scientists still think the vaccines will work against these variants. However, they should be given in full, exact doses. Dr. Ali Mokad says, "The debate of cutting the dose (of vaccines) or only giving the first dose is very, very dangerous..You want (a vaccine) to knock down the virus very, very low. We don't want to get this virus used to something in small doses so the virus can develop immunity, we want to make sure that when the virus comes into contact with these immune antibodies, it loses every time, and fast."
As doses of newly approved vaccines have been administered accross different countries, Scientists still do not have a concrete answer as to whether the different rise of variants will affect the effectiveness of the vaccines. the latest update is that both Pfizer and Moderna have been working on testing their vaccines againts the newly developed mutations. So far, they are still expecting that the vaccines will provide the most efficient protection at best.
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Written by Nikki D