Hi there! I hope you’re doing wonderful. I was just scrolling through the news and I saw this “New Coronavirus Variant”. Yeah, you heard me right, I also didn’t know coronavirus had siblings (hehe). Well, the thing is, Geo News, ARY News, Dawn News, Samaa News, and pretty much every other news station is talking about this new coronavirus variant.
Now, what exactly is this? I mean where did it come from? Is it more dangerous than the previous? Will the government officials go for a complete lockdown again? What is the current status of this new coronavirus variant? All of these questions will be answered in today’s article.
NEW CORONAVIRUS VARIANT? HERE’S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
A new variant of coronavirus has been identified in England and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, revealed on Dec 14 that its numbers “are increasing rapidly”. The new coronavirus variant appears to spread more quickly, sparking fresh fears that the Covid-19 pandemic may continue to accelerate even as governments begin administering the first vaccine shots.
This new variant appears to transmit more quickly and easily, although there is “no evidence” that the new variant makes people sicker or increases the risk of death. The CDC also noted that new coronavirus “mutates regularly”, but this should not be underestimated because the majority of mutations are insignificant. As for now, it hasn’t yet been discovered in the U.S, but it could already be circulating across the country unnoticed.
More than 40 countries have now suspended transportations with the U.K. after the new variation of the coronavirus. I told you already “Not to mess-up with the SOPs” now look where we are.
– How dangerous is this new coronavirus variant?
Its name is weird and called ‘VUI – 202012/01’ (but I’m gonna call it a new coronavirus variant). It carries a set of mutations including an N501Y mutation to part of the genetic sequence which forms the spike protein – little grippy rods that attach to human cells. Any change in the shape of the spike protein could make it more difficult for the immune system to spot. The virus uses the spike protein to bind to the human ACE2 receptor.
Honestly, this is all biological stuff and I can hardly understand any of it. By the way, government scientists are studying it, but as I said before it is less likely to lead to serious illness. However, if it can bind more easily to human cells, it may spread quickly and people could end up with a higher viral load.
There is currently no evidence that this variant – or any other studied to date – has any impact on disease severity.
– How many cases have been found of this new variant?
There are 1000+ cases found in the U.K as of Dec 13, confirmed by the WHO. This is an average calculation since scientists need more time to evaluate between the two viruses to confirm which strain of the virus a patient is infected with. They will be running additional tests, including sequencing the genetic code.
It wasn’t until October, though, that the variant began to spread rapidly throughout the region, the WHO said, adding that cases continued to rise at an unexpected pace through November, prompting an investigation and discovery of the mutation earlier this month. Between Oct. 5 and Dec. 13, more than 50% of the viral samples from southeast England that were sequenced were found to be the variant strain.
– What are the symptoms of a new coronavirus variant?
It seems that the symptoms are the same as the former member of this covid family. The variant was spotted through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests which are usually only given to people with traditional symptoms of the virus, so we can assume the symptoms are identical.
When the Government scientists have been carrying out random genetic analysis of around 10 percent of PCR tests and spotted the new variant.
– What does this mean for vaccines?
Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, which have been authorized for use in the U.S. use messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology. It’s a new approach to vaccines that uses genetic material – in this case, a harmless piece of spike protein – to provoke an immune response against the virus.
BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said Tuesday that he is confident the company’s coronavirus vaccine with Pfizer will work against the new strain, but added but further studies are needed to be completely sure.
Both vaccines induce an immune response against several structures found around the spike protein, the multifunctional mechanism that allows the virus to enter the host, Slaoui, chief science advisor to Operation Warp Speed, explained to reporters Monday during a press briefing. The chances one set of mutations would completely alter those structures “are extremely low,” he added.
– Are we going to face another Lockdown?
The major countries such as the U.S, Russia, China, and England have already taken precautions of lockdown. In Pakistan, it is only detected in the immigrants of the U.K, and they are in complete isolation. But the government officials are still trying hard not to put another nationwide lockdown due to the economical conditions of the country. We should follow the SOPs in order to avoid another lockdown.
– Is it coming to the U.S?
The CDC said Tuesday the new strain could already be circulating in the United States without notice.
“Ongoing travel between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the high prevalence of this variant among current UK infections, increase the likelihood of importation,” CDC said in a statement. “Given the small fraction of US infections that have been sequenced, the variant could already be in the United States without having been detected.”
That’s all for today’s article. I just hope for 2021 to be a new beginning for all of us. This year has been really hard for everyone, I just wish the best for the upcoming new year. We should never neglect these dangerous viruses and follow the instructions such as social distancing, washing hands more frequently, use sanitizer, stay hydrated and hygienic. Thank you for always being, I just don’t feel like writing these days but for the sake of my little army I had to. Happy New Year 2021 to everyone!