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Sunday, March 28 2021

COVID-19 Variants Explained

 

What on Earth Are These Variants Everyone Is Talking About?

Cell mutations happen constantly in the DNA of practically every living organism. And by far, the vast majority of these mutations have no noticeable effect. Either the mutation occurs in a part of the genome that doesn’t really matter to the whole organism, or it kills the cell, which is then eliminated by our immune system.

Similarly, viruses undergo constant mutations and, occasionally, those mutations end up being an advantage in its efforts to reproduce, spread to other hosts, and survive. If the advantage replicates to where enough people have it, the new version of the virus is called a “variant.” Genetically, and in many other ways, the variant is very similar compared to the original virus, except may be more contagious, cause a more severe reaction, or both.

There are currently three main variants of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19:

  • The U.K. variant. This variant was first identified in the fall of last year in England and has since spread throughout the world. It was first detected in the U.S. in December. It is thought to spread more easily than other variants and is associated with a higher risk of fatality.
  • The Brazil variant. This variant was first discovered in Japan during routine screening of travelers from Brazil. It is thought to have mutated in a way that makes it less recognizable to antibodies. The first case in the U.S. was detected in January.
  • The South Africa variant. This variant emerged independently in October but shares some mutations with the U.K. variant. It is believed to be more infectious than the original strain of coronavirus.

While research is ongoing, studies suggest that antibodies created as a result of vaccination with the current vaccines are effective in fighting all of these variants.

At Workplace Screening Intelligence, we provide a wide range of services that include clinical laboratory testing, employment drug testing, parental drug testing, and DNA paternity testing, as well as COVID-19 screening. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 800-338-5515 or schedule an appointment on our website.

Posted by: Phil Dubois AT 08:01 am   |  Permalink   |  Email