Health experts around the world are detecting new strains of COVID-19, but how many are there, and which ones should you be concerned with?
While there are many variants of COVID-19 circulating the world, most health experts are concerned with three. Every time the virus infects a new person and replicates, there is a chance for an error to occur in the replication process. Sometimes this ‘error’ can cause the virus to die out faster, but in some instances, the newly replicated virus will be equipped with an advantage.
Dr. Mary Petrone, who studies infectious diseases at Yale University, said, “Not every mutation is created equal. The virus is going to get lucky now and again.” According to one biologist from Ohio State University, in the early stages of the a mutation in the virus occurred that fueled the spread that we are now seeing today. One variant that concerns health experts is the new strain detected in the United Kingdom, B.1.1.7. This new variant is believed to be more contagious.
The other two new strains of COVID-19 were detected in South Africa and Brazil, and are also believed to be more contagious. Additionally, public health experts are concerned that the strains detected in South Africa and Brazil will diminish the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. Daniel Jones, a biologist at Ohio State University, said, “The fewer humans carrying the virus, the fewer opportunities it has to mutate.”