For the last two years, the corona epidemic has created a ruckus all over the world. Although this virus has mutated many times, but some of its selected variants proved to be fatal for humans. Experts believe that this process of inventing new variants is not going to stop yet.

Recently, WHO’s Kovid-19 Technical Lead Maria Van Kerkhove has said that the new variant of Corona will be even more contagious, because it will have to overtake the existing variants. It can be both mild and severe and can overwhelm our immunity.

How are new variants of Corona made?

Changes occur in any virus over time, so that it can survive in nature. While most viruses do not change their properties very much, there are some viruses in which they change due to fighting with vaccines and treatments. In this way new variants of the virus are formed, which pose a threat to us.

Based on how dangerous a variant is to people, the World Health Organization (WHO) declares it a ‘Variant of Concern’ (VoC), i.e. a worrying variant.

How many variants of Corona have VoC?

So far 5 variants – Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron have been declared VoC. They are responsible for their rapid spread to humans, infecting them seriously and for their deaths.

The Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) was first detected in the UK in September 2020. The beta variant (B.1.351) was first detected by South Africa in May 2020. The Gamma variant (P.1) was found in Brazil in November 2020.

According to a report in the journal Nature, these three variants have some mutations in common. They target people with poor immunity and their infection can last for months.

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was found in India in October 2020. It is 60% more contagious than the alpha variant, hence scientists call it super alpha. The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) was reported by South Africa in November 2021. Omicron’s spike protein has more mutations than other variants, due to which it spreads rapidly. The virus enters the human body only with the help of spike protein.

Other variants likely to come in future

WHO expert Maria Van Kerkhove believes that Omicron is not the last variant of Corona. We may get news of other variants being found in the future as well. At the moment it is difficult to say what kind of mutations will be in those variants.

In a report in the journal Nature, scientist Jesse Bloom has said that the corona virus will never end. It will come in the endemic stage, that is, the virus will become weak and people will learn to live with it. This will become a common disease.

Scientist Andrew Rambot says that due to Omicron’s infection being mild, it is not correct to consider the next variant too mild. It may happen that the upcoming variant is dangerous.


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