The “Double Mutant” COVID-19 Variant

10 Apr, 2021

The discovery of the latest COVID-19 variant in India and California, often referred to as the "double mutant variant," has raised concerns among some individuals. The mere mention of this nickname can evoke unsettling images and thoughts. However, it is important to understand that viruses have been undergoing mutations for countless years, and this is simply a natural part of their behavior. Throughout the lifecycle of a virus, numerous variants emerge and then fade away. The variant with the double mutations that has garnered attention is just one among several variants with similar characteristics, and it has been specifically identified and assigned a name.

As stated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Viral recombination occurs when viruses of two different parent strains infect the same host cell and interact during replication, resulting in the creation of new virus progeny that possess genes from both parent strains." This process, known as "recombination," is a common phenomenon where mutation strains combine to give rise to an entirely new strain. Scientists closely monitor these variant blends to ensure the effectiveness of the vaccines that have been developed. Alongside vaccination efforts, the use of viromasks reusable masks can provide an additional layer of protection against these emerging variants.

Individual Mutant Variants Defined

The recombination of the two variants involves the L452R mutation that assists in binding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein from the virus in a tighter method to cells. The process of latching onto a cell using the virus spike is the method that the virus uses to reproduce itself and transmit infection. The other variant is E484Q and is a mutation known to hide from the body’s developed antibodies that would fight COVID-19. The L452R was first acknowledged in the Los Angeles area in the fall of 2020, while the E484Q resembles the variant from Brazil and South Africa. Scientists are constantly studying these variants as they appear. Thus far, no study has shown that the double mutant is deadlier than early COVID-19 versions or that it cannot be detected by the antibodies of the vaccines.

What We Currently Know

The L452R and E484Q are included on the CDC special list for variants with the notation “variants of concern.” The double mutation variant is being monitored, but as of this writing it hasn’t been added to the list. It’s believed that one of the double mutant traits may be the ability to transmit faster. Studies are continuing, and the experts feel that this may explain an increase of 55% in infections in India.

Virus mutations are constantly fighting each other for dominance and survival. In California, There are currently two of the U.K. variants in California that have been doing just that. Scientists believe that the double variant will have little chance to spread on any widespread scale due to these battles and the increase in vaccine distribution.

The Right Masks and Social Distancing

The CDC and the medical community indicate that in addition to getting the vaccine, wearing the correct type of masks combined with social distancing are the two best protection methods. Triple-layered masks such as Viromasks bring added assurance with an anti-viral anti-bacterial inner and outer layer and a trap layer similar to N95. Easy to wear and available for children and adults, Viromasks are reusable and washable. COVID-19 will be part of our lives for quite some time, and wearing masks are now part of our routine.

We are going to make a series about how to make great face masks; this is part 1. Can anyone make face masks at home, as politicians like you believe? Yes, provided you have the right materials and some great sewing skills.

The discovery of the latest COVID-19 variant in India and California has raised concern from some. The nickname “double mutant variant” is enough to conjure images that cascade into a dark imagination.