The emergence of new strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past few months has caused much concern around the world. Reports of these variants show that they are much more infectious and have the ability to halt the progression made over the pandemic.
In fact, some experts say that the strains may lead to a coronavirus storm with new infections all around the world once again. Currently, three variants of the virus are causing new breakouts in different countries.
The B.1.351 variant is spreading throughout South Africa. Secondly, B.1.1.7 strain is responsible for an increase in new infections in the UK and even the US. Thirdly, the P.1 variant has caused another coronavirus surge in Brazil.
Currently, clinical trials are focusing on the coronavirus vaccinations’ efficacy against these three strains. While some vaccines, such as Pfizer, have proven to provide protection, others may not be as effective.
Now there may be a need to test the vaccinations further as scientists have noted two more strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.
So far, it is only known that these strains have multiple mutations. As a result, they may be more contagious and may cause a more severe form of infection. However, a more worrisome outcome of the mutations may be that the virus may be less recognizable to antibodies.
This means that a number of treatments currently used to treat coronavirus infection and its associated complications may no longer be effective. Some scientists also say that they may possibly decrease the efficacy of the vaccines as well.
If not these variants, any new ones that may emerge in the future can be resistant to the treatments and vaccinations. At the moment, the investigation on the California and New York variant is ongoing.
There is need for much more reseach to know whether both the strains are deadlier and can cause an increased number of complications during and after the infection.
For people, it is much more important to worry about taking coronavirus preventive measures than more strains of the virus. New strains of viruses often develop and spread due to people and not the environment.
Without host cells, viruses including the SARS-CoV-2 cannot mutate. Therefore, the best way to stop any new variants of the virus to arise is prevention.
By following the official guidelines from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, people can effectively protect themsevles from the virus and keep it from spreading to others.
Even with vaccines, preventive measures including wearing a mask, practising social distancing, staying indoors, frequent handwashing, and avoiding physcial contact are still important.
The development of vaccinations is a big step towards the end of the pandemic but without the vast majority taking coronavirus precautions strictly, they are not as effective. To end the health crisis as soon as possible, there is a need for a combination of both.