Viruses develop variants as a regular part of their life cycle, and world scientists have been trying to stay ahead of the many COVID-19 variants that have shown up. The most recent alert has come from the B.1.617 variant that has rapidly spread throughout India. Medical specialists believe that this variant may cause the sudden surge of COVID-19 infections in the country, resulting in daily case numbers to explode. The concern has been so great that some areas in the U.K. have stepped up their vaccine recommendations to anyone 16 years or older. Pandemics are a global worry, and addressing whether the current vaccines can efficiently deal with B.1.617 has been the subject of a flurry of studies.
What Makes B.1.617 Different?
Variants can occur when a virus makes a copy of itself, and a mutation occurs in the process. In some cases, variants don’t endure, but those that do survive can carry traits that enable the strength of the virus to be stronger. B.1.617 has been found to contain two mutations that give it the ability for faster transmission and to be able to evade some immune protection. The spread of COVID-19 depends on several variables, including the percentage of the population vaccinated, large social gatherings, and the lack of mask-wearing or social distancing. It’s believed that the B.1.617 variant’s increased ability for faster transmission combined with each of these variables has caused such a severe outbreak in India.
A Focus on Variants
Most people are tired of dealing with COVID-19 in general and long to return to a pre-COVID life. The problem with this attitude is that many tend to relax previous actions taken to protect themselves and those around them. The entrance of variants has always been expected, and if one comes along that proves to be stronger, it can cause another widespread outbreak. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has been studying variants to find out why they:
·Spread more easily from person-to-person
·Cause milder or more severe disease in people
·Are detected by currently available viral tests
·Respond to medicines currently being used to treat people for COVID-19
·Change the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines
Will Existing Vaccines be Enough Protection?
At the time of this writing, the B.1.617 variant has been discovered in twenty other countries. Lab studies have shown that while this variant does have a higher rate of evading the immune system, both the Pfizer and Modern vaccines help the body develop a more significant number of antibodies so that they can protect against B.1.617. However, it should be noted that lab testing is just a preliminary situation and cannot wholly predict what will happen in the real-life circumstances.
Mask Wearing Diligence
While the world may be suffering from “COVID burn-out,” to avoid the additional spread of potentially stronger variants, there needs to be continued diligence in taking the precautions of getting vaccines, social distancing, and wearing high-quality masks such as ViroMasks. The antimicrobial treated material used in Viromasks has been proven to be very effective against viruses and bacteria. Viromasks are available in adult and youth sizes, are easy on breathing, and are reusable with up to forty washes.