Variants of viruses usually happen when there is a mutation to the genes of the virus.
RNA viruses have a natural habit to evolve such as the coronavirus. This change or evolution is usually a gradual process. Therefore it is said that mutation in viruses such as COVID-19 is not an unexpected change. It has also been noted that viruses vary in their speed of mutation or change. For instance, the flu virus changes or mutates often, which is why it is advisable by doctors that you get a new flu vaccine every year.
There is a concern about the changes or mutations occurring in the coronavirus variants if it could possibly have an effect on it’s treatment and prevention. The coronavirus variant known as B.1.351, identified in South Africa, had a minimal effect, and those who were given its vaccine which was said to be from Oxford-AstraZeneca, experienced or had a mild or moderate illness. This variant, in particular, has not been said to show any severity or more severe illness than the variants before it. Although people who survived the original coronavirus could have a mild or moderate COVID-29 if affected by the variant.
It is important to know if the COVID-19 vaccine will work on the new variants. It has been observed that the vaccines currently on ground could have little effect against some of the new strains or variants. It is advisable by medical personnels that people who have already received vaccination should look out for changes and also continue with the coronavirus safety precautions in order to prevent or reduce the risk of infection. Safety precautions such as wearing of masks. Social distancing and hand hygiene. Doctors have assured that there will be close tabs kept on the mutation or changes of the coronavirus and development of efficient vaccine along side with it.
The changes or mutations occurring in the coronavirus causing the development of new variants is a valid reason to be concerned. But doctors have assured that there is no need for any overreaction as they are keeping a close eye on the virus and it’s a mutation with time. As it evolves, examinations will be carried out on it. Meanwhile, we also need to play our part as well taking preventive measures against the virus seriously and to get vaccinated.
The currently COVID-19 vaccines in development are expected to give a certain level of protection against the new variants of the virus because these vaccines entail an effective amount of antibodies and cells giving it a large immune response against to virus variants. However, if there is any detection of a less effect against the variants occurring once or twice, the composition of the vaccines will be changed immediately for further protection against the variants. As much as we need to take the necessary preventive measures against the virus, it is also important that manufacturers and the programs using the vaccines would have to adjust the evolution of the COVID-19 virus. For instance, trials must be carried out and maintained to allow any changes in potency to be assessed and it must be of adequate scale and assortment to enable a clear interpretation of results. The WHO is working with researchers and health officials to have an understanding of how these variants affect the behavior of the virus.