Vaccine Resistant Variant of the Covid-19 Virus: Everything You Need to Know
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, commonly known as Covid-19, has become this year’s biggest global health threat. Already far more contagious than its predecessors and easily spread through asymptomatic cases, the latest news is that a new, vaccine resistant variant has emerged.
What is the Vaccine Resistant Variant?
The vaccine resistant variant of Covid-19, also known as B.1.351, has been identified as a possible threat in South Africa, where it is believed to have replaced two other major variants of the virus.
This new variant is similar, but not identical, to what is known as the U.K. variant. It is referred to as a double mutant because it has two types of mutations that are believed to be working together to make it more dangerous.
These mutations are believed to make the virus more able to resist the effects of the vaccines currently available. This is not to say that the vaccines will be completely ineffective against it, but it is likely to be less effective than against other variants.
What We Know About the Vaccine Resistant Variant
Scientists have so far identified two specific mutations in this new variant which are believed to be responsible for its increased resistance. These mutations, called N501Y and K417T, are known to affect the way the virus enters cells, making it potentially more powerful.
It is also known that this variant is much more transmissible than the other variants, which means that it is able to spread more easily.
How Could the Vaccine Resistant Variant Affect the Coronavirus Pandemic?
If this new variant continues to spread, it could lead to a resurgence of the pandemic. As it is believed to be more resistant to current vaccines, this means that those who are vaccinated are not as completely protected as they might otherwise have been.
This could mean that more people will become infected with Covid-19, leading to increased numbers in hospitalisations and deaths. It could also lead to a further strain on the already stretched healthcare system, as more patients require treatment.
What Can We Do to Fight the Vaccine Resistant Variant?
The most important thing we can do to fight the vaccine resistant variant is to continue to follow the guidelines for Covid-19 prevention. This means maintaining social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and wearing face masks when out of the home.
These measures are still the most effective way to minimise the risk of infection and reduce the chances of further spread of the virus. Vaccines can still be effective against this variant, but they won’t be as effective as they might have been against other variants.
Other Measures That Can Help
In addition to the above preventative measures, there are some proactive steps that can be taken to try to reduce the spread of the vaccine resistant variant.
• Vaccinating as many people as possible: Vaccinating as many people as possible will help to reduce the spread of the virus, and limit the chances of it evolving further.
• Developing new vaccines: Scientists are already working on new variant-targeting vaccines to combat the spread.
• Genetic sequencing of Covid-19: This process can help scientists to identify new variants more quickly, allowing them to take steps to prevent their spread.
• Investing in resources: Investing in resources such as testing and contact tracing will help to identify new cases quickly, and stop them from spreading further.
The new vaccine resistant variant of Covid-19 is a serious concern and is likely to cause a further resurgence of the pandemic. To tackle this, it is essential that preventative measures such as social distancing and mask wearing are adhered to, as well as the development of new vaccines and the increased use of testing and contact tracing.