Multiple variants of the SARs-COV-2 virus have been circulating in and around the world. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three classifications of COVID-19 variants are being monitored, namely Variant of Interest (VOI), Variant of Concern (VOC), and Variant of High Consequence (VOHC).
B.1.1.7, also known as the UK variant, was found in the south-east of England and is currently identified as a Variant of Concern (VOC). Experts suggest that this variant was 40-70% more infectious than other variants and raises death risks to 60%.
The Brazil variant, scientifically known as P.1, is believed to be more contagious and dangerous than the previous mutation. E484K, an escape mutation allows the variant to evade the antibodies.
B.1.351, the South African variant was found in at least 20 countries, including the United Kingdom. Akin to the Brazil variant, E484K mutation allows this variant to dodge antibodies. Additionally, N501 mutation makes it more contagious.
The Indian origin double mutant virus variant, scientifically termed as B.1.617, was first identified around March end in the state of Maharashtra and continues to drive India’s second wave of coronavirus. It contains E484Q and L452R mutations, which makes it more infectious and enables it to escape antibodies.
Additionally, recent reports suggest that a ‘Triple mutation’ COVID variant has been identified in parts of West Bengal, Delhi and Maharashtra.