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Only Delta is a variant of concern: WHO

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Only Delta is a variant of concern: WHO:


Context:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said only B.1.617.2, one of the three strains of the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant first detected in India, is a “variant of concern” now.

Background:

The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India and was divided in three lineages — B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.

How do variants of a virus emerge and why?

  1. Variants of a virus have one or more mutations that differentiate it from the other variants that are in circulation.
  2. Essentially, the goal of the virus is to reach a stage where it can cohabitate with humans because it needs a host to survive.
  3. Errors in the viral RNA are called mutations, and viruses with these mutations are called variants. Variants could differ by a single or many mutations.

What is a mutation?

  • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the virus.
  • In the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is an Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.
  • A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. How are viruses named? Read here
  2. DNA vs. RNA- how many differences do you know? Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Covid 19?
  2. What is mutation?
  3. What is mRNA?
  4. What is RT- PCR test?
  5. What is genome sequencing?

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with mutations of Covid- 19 virus.

Sources: the Hindu.