COVID Variants

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 3, 2022, 5:42

Change is the only constant. With the evolution of the SARS- CoV-2 virus over time, the coronavirus is continuing to evolve new variants. These new variants are seen all across the world, causing different illnesses and different symptoms.

A Vaccine is one of the most effective ways to subordinate the after-effects.

List of Main COVID Variants

The five main COVID Variants are -

Alpha (B.1.1.7)

It was first reported in the U.K and includes the Q' sublineages

Beta (B.1.351)

It was reported in South Africa, and vaccines often do not work on its sublineages

Gamma (P.1)

Originated in Brazil, reported 1st in Japan; gamma has two sublineages, P.1.1 and P.1.2

Delta (B.1.617.2)

First detected in India, it spreads quite easily and can be quite dangerous for unvaccinated people. B.1.617.2 &many AY sublineages

Omicron (B.1.1.529)

With BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3 as sublineages, is highly transmissible, but its effect is mild on vaccinated people.

Delta and Omicron COVID Variants have been most commonly detected, most transmissible and have caused severe hazards to human lives. These variants are called Variants of concern.

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COVID Variants - Reason for virus mutation

Virus mutation and evolution of a new variant may happen for one of the following reasons:

  • In the process of virus replication, if any random errors take place, a new variant may develop
  • Easy and incessant transmission due to lack of COVID-appropriate behaviour, which helps the virus find a good host and thrive, evolve and grow
  • Monoclonal antibodies or other similar treatments create immune pressure on the virus

Evolution COVID Variants

These suffice the growth and evolution of viruses, and they are categorised as:

  1. Variants Under Investigation (VUI), when the virus is in observation and is undergoing mutation
  2. A variant of Interest (VoI), is when specific genetic markers have been associated and affect transmission and immunity
  3. A variant of Concern (VoC), when transmission becomes easier and spreads too fast and a variant of high consequences where demonstrated diagnostics fail and susceptibility to treatment minimises to a great extent

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Measures to Minimise Spread of COVID Variants

  • Timely vaccination to be implied globally
  • Maintaining social distance
  • Keeping good ventilation through open windows
  • Covering your nose and mouth with proper masks
  • Maintaining hygiene by keeping hands clean
  • Covering your face while sneezing
  • Spread awareness to enhance self-protection and others as well

COVID was caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which was a single-stranded RNA Virus. The evolution of a COVID virus emphasises changes in the genetic sequence of the RNA, and when it gets mutation, it becomes a variant. Regular monitoring and research under the World Health Organization (WHO) help spread awareness regarding the virus.

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FAQs on COVID Variants

Q1. What are some of the COVID Variants?

The COVID Variants are alpha, beta, gamma, delta and omicron.

Q2. What are the general symptoms of COVID Variants?

If you are infected with the COVID variants, the most common symptom is fever, fatigue, and dry cough.

Q3. When were a COVID Variants outbreak first documented?

The outbreak of COVID Variants, specifically the Delta variant, was first documented in October 2020.

Q4. What is the best solution to fight against COVID Variants of Covid-19?

Vaccination on time is the best solution for fighting COVID Variants, along with precautionary measures like masks, social distancing, etc., to prevent the disease's spread.