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COVID-19 Variants – What You Need To Know

COVID-19 Variants – What You Need To Know

Viruses are always on the move, mutating constantly. 

Viruses mutate when they consistently replicate creating “mistakes” in their reproduction.  However, these “mistakes” help propagate the virus, giving it the ability to transfer faster, replicate easier, and transmit unchecked. These mutations are bad for us but good for the virus.  We need to worry about variants from all over the world because we are all connected.  We can travel from one end of the globe to the other in a matter of 24 hours, and thus, so can the virus. 

The current COVID-19 pandemic has seen multiple variants appear around the world, with different infection rates and symptom intensity.

What are the Main Variants of COVID-19?

There are four main variants of COVID-19, each displaying different characteristics:

First detected in the UK in September of 2020 is now the most common variant of COVID-19 in Europe. This variant has increased transferability and increased severity of illness to those infected.

This was first detected in South Africa in December of 2020. Not only does this variant also have increased transferability and increased severity, current vaccines are possibly less effective against this mutation.

This was first detected in December of 2020 in Brazil, is easier to transfer, possibly causes a more severe reaction, and possibly reduces vaccine effectiveness. The P.1 variant has, so far, only been detected in Brazil.

First detected B.1.617 in a few samples in October. In a detailed genomic and structural analysis of B.1.617 it has become apparent that this version of the variant is more transmissible, and this mutation has allowed this strain of COVID to partially evade immunity.

Will the Current Vaccines Work Against the New Variants?

The short answer to this question is both yes, and no.

Yes, although the current vaccines were designed to tackle the earlier SARS-CoV-2 S protein, before it had mutations, the vaccine still helps to lighten the severity of the disease, regardless of the variant. The instructions present in the vaccine will still stimulate the immune system in its fight against new variants, albeit, with less effectiveness than with the original virus. 

No, as time progresses, more mutations of the virus will develop, giving rise to newer and stronger variants. However with time, further research will lead to the development of new vaccines targeting the mutations in the latest variants. This might mean booster shots for those most vulnerable, or a routine booster when antibody levels drop below a certain amount. 

Therefore, if most people are vaccinated in your country, the virus does not have much opportunity to mutate because its transmission and propagation is limited. However, someone from a different country where vaccination rates are low and transmission is rampant can always bring another version of the virus.  When that happens, my vaccine can give me some protection because, overall, it’s the same “animal” we’re dealing with, but this new version may have developed new “fangs” that my vaccine does not help against.

Our hope with the COVID-19 vaccines is that we vaccinate faster than the virus can mutate. This helps keep severe and fatal cases of COVID to a minimum and helps us reach herd immunity faster.

At Synergy Health Advisors, we are serious about stopping the spread of COVID-19. The world needs to recover and heal from this drawn out crisis. That is why we are on top of the latest medical trends in testing and treatment.

We offer COVID-19 testing with a same day turnaround time as well as antibody testing. You can also set up a personalized physician consultation at our Montvale Office or we can come to you at the comfort of your home. At Synergy Health, we strive to provide healthcare that is convenient and personalized. 

Reach out today and book a consultation, there’s no better time than now to make a change for better health.

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