All viruses have pedigrees, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines as “a group of closely related viruses with a common ancestor.” SARS-CoV-2 has many genealogies, all of which cause COVID-19. Next, you will learn why viruses mutate and change from the beginning, as well as how to understand the difference between a viral strain, a variant and a subvariable.
Covid-19 versus sub-variant variant: An epidemiologist explains
First, remember that every virus mutates — not just COVID-19. “Every virus that gets stuck is sure to mutate, leading to different strains, variants and subtypes,” says Jyotsna Shah, PhD, president of COVID-19 IGeneX, Inc. “In all living organisms, cells reproduce, and when cells multiply rapidly, errors or mutations sometimes occur. Often, these mutations leave the virus unable to survive and die. However, sometimes the mutation occurs in an area of the virus, allowing it not only to survive but also to change its behavior.
That being said, each of these virus classification terms has a different meaning – and knowing 411 will help you understand not only COVID-19, but also other viruses that may arise. For the sake of clarity, Dr. Shah uses dog breeds as a metaphor to talk about the virus. (Strange, I know, but stay with us.)
- Executive: ““When we classify something as a strain, it means that its genetic material has undergone significant changes, leading to differences in viral behavior,” says Dr. Shah. breed has unique characteristics.For example, SARS-COVID-2 is a coronavirus strain and let’s compare it to a poodle.
- Variant: In the meantime, the variants have not undergone as many mutations as a viral strain. “Returning to the dog carrier, a variant is still the same breed as its parent virus. Thus, while a variant usually does not change anything fundamental about the virus, it can make it more contagious or cause more severe symptoms.” says. Dr. Shah. Omicron is an example of a variation. Or, to continue transporting the dog, a variation is like a mini poodle: it is smaller, but maybe it can run a little faster and be crammed into smaller spaces.
- Subdivision: “Finally, we come to the sub-variation, as we see right now with Omicron [BA.2] variation “, says Dr. Shah. The subvariables have a slight genetic mutation from their parent variant which sometimes make it difficult to distinguish from this variant. However, they are different. Each of these subvariables — including BA.2, BA.1.1, and BA.3. —It is like a poodle in the context of our dog’s breed. It still looks and works like a mini-poodle (actually, you may have a hard time distinguishing it), but it can fit in even smaller spaces and is more easily hidden from its parent version.
Because this terminology matters even when we talk about COVID-19
Having this weird (but clarifying!) Comparison in your back pocket because it will help you better understand COVID-19 in the years to come. Omicron BA.2 is now considered the dominant variant of SARS-COVID-2, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) —but this is likely to change. Beyond the poodle proportions, COVID-19 is quite serious and deserves your honest understanding.
“It may be embarrassing to keep reading about new variants of COVID-19, but it is important to remind yourself that these variants are to be expected. to so many people, “says Dr. Shah.
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