This year, the massive pandemic in the past 100 years blew past across the globe, turning hundreds of thousands of lives and economies upside down, and refurbishing life as we know it.
Presently, the whole world is facing both health as well as an economic dilemma due to COVID-19. Recently, the world has at long last received positive news after going through all the hardships and sufferings with regard to the development of a fully-tested and approved COVID-19 vaccine for public use.
However, unfortunately, subsequent to November 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) has proclaimed an active rise in COVID-19 cases in southeast England and London. This brisk escalation in cases has been associated with a dissimilar version—or variant—of the virus that is likely to cause (SARS-CoV-2) COVID-19. This new strain is named “VUI-202012/01”. As soon as this information is revealed, the public health officials and medical professionals in the UK immediately focused on evaluating the attributes of this new variant.
As far as we know, viruses continually evolve and reform through mutation, and new and unfamiliar variants of a virus are certainly estimated to crop up over a period of time. In some cases, these unusual new variants appear and vanish.
Rest of the time, new variants crop up and begin spreading among people. Diversified variants of the virus that has the capability to cause COVID-19 have been cited in the United States and across the world during this pandemic. Reportedly, the virus which causes SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus is a kind of virus that consists of a large family of viruses. The SARS-CoV-2 or Coronaviruses are titled because of the structure as it has crown-like spikes on their surfaces. The medical experts and scientists observe alterations in the structure of the virus, comprising alterations to the spikes on the surface of the virus. This analysis of the virus, involving genetic examination of the virus, assists us to comprehend how modifications to the virus are able to affect how it disseminates and transmitted among people and what it does to the human body who are infected with it.
According to the latest reports, approximately 6 out of 10 COVID-19 active cases recorded in London are caused by this new and unfamiliar variant. The genetic evaluation of the new variant signifies modifications to the spikes on the virus as well as to other parts of the virus. As per the initial studies, this new strain of coronavirus or the new variant is likely to transmit more easily from one person to another. Although, up till now the medical experts and professionals in the UK observe no clue that infections by this new variant induce more severe disease. Despite all the facts, it is yet way too early in the determination of this variant, so we still have a whole lot of things to learn, and more and more studies are required on the new variant to understand and apprehend the degree of risk this new variant holds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has constantly been in close contact with UK officials over the evolution of a new variant of coronavirus. As per the latest information, the new variant is spreading more swiftly than the initial or original variant, but it is not supposed to be more toxic. In addition to that, alongside the UK, the exact same mutation of the Covid-19 virus has also been witnessed in Denmark, Netherlands, and Australia, according to The World Health Organization (WHO). Even though, there is no such clue to recommend the new variant responds in a different manner to vaccines.
As a consequence of the advent of a new variant of virus, in the UK, extensive parts of south-east England, comprising London, are at present under a new and stringent level of limitations and restrictions in an effort to restrict the briskly spreading virus. In the last couple of days, the European nations including Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands all declared a freeze on flights and transit from the UK.
However, the safety measures vary and are generally short-term at the initial level.
On a positive side, German pharmaceutical company BioNTech Chief Executive, Ugur Sahin said in his recent press conference that he is quite confident that its coronavirus vaccine which was developed with Pfizer-US based pharmaceutical company has the potential to work against the new UK variant, although more studies are certainly required to be completely sure.