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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE COVID STRAIN

20 May, 2021

Life was good. But then, Covid-19 caught the end of it. The year 2020 can be listed in world history as a black year. The Covid indeed made it a year shredded with fear and terror.

Covid 19, a disease associated with SARS-COV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus), for which no cure has yet been found, is said to have originated in a city of China. The first case was recorded in late 2019 in Wuhan. There are several theories for the cause of the outbreak. Thailand was the second country to report the virus. Gradually, the infections were reported from various countries. It was then discovered that the disease was an airborne one.

Symptoms of Covid 19 seemed to be very much similar to other common viruses. People experienced cough, fever, muscle pains, sore throat, which later transformed into more serious symptoms like breathlessness, chest pain, and even loss of taste and smell.

Initially, the disease caused so much terror and deaths worldwide that every nation was forced to declare a complete lockdown. People were advised to wear masks and use sanitizers whenever there existed an emergency to step outside. The disease was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. The last pandemic recorded was in 2009 when H1N1 hit the world, with a blow. The 2020 pandemic seemed to be much worse.

People were advised to stay indoors for their safety. Hospitals were packed. What was worse was that though the world was trying its best to discover the cure, none was found. This caused terror amongst the people. The virus caught the hold of any age and the ones who were in more danger, in particular, were the elders, the infants, the ones with other strong diseases such as diabetes, cardiac diseases, kidney disorders, RTC(rotator cuff) Diseases, and the ones with the weaker immune system. As the number of infected people increased, there was very less bed available at the hospitals. So people with mild symptoms and a stronger immune system were advised to isolate themselves at their respective houses while people with more serious results were admitted to hospitals. Many of them recovered and was sent back while others couldn’t be saved. Every day a large number of people died, with the death roll increasing every other day.

A year passed and finally, there were conversations about the vaccine being created. People were filled with hope and happiness.People took a sigh of relief when it was announced that with the upcoming new year, people will be vaccinated. As soon as the vaccination began, everyone evidenced a drastic decrease in the number of Covid cases. However, with time the virus had started the process of mutation long ago and now it had successfully had several variants with more severe infections. Moreover, with more people being vaccinated, there occurred this belief that now it is safe enough for us to free ourselves from masks, and sanitizers and whatever rule the government had imposed on us. People gathered in the huge crowd whenever there was an occasion without safety measures. And the mutant virus does not miss a chance to infect people once again. This new strain of virus is said to be transmitted more quickly.

Viruses are made up of two components – protein and nucleic acid. Nucleic acid is the component of the virus whereas protein is its coat. Nucleic acid is of two types- RNA and DNA. In the case of Covid, it is the RNA that forms the genetic material. Now what happens is that, when certain preventive measures are taken to eliminate the virus, such as vaccination, the virus tries to escape it in either way. The vaccine used against the virus is based on its components. The virus finds a very effective way to deal with the vaccine. It changes some of its components. The vaccine can now only eliminate those virus components that are unchanged while it can’t even recognize the new ones. The new ones now start to replicate and are the mutant ones.

The two major types of new Covid strain are the UK or Kent strain and the Brazilian strain. Both are said to be more terrible than the earlier or the original ones. The UK strain spreads quicker than others.  It can’t be denied that more new Covid strains will develop over time. Recently a new double mutated Indian strain B.1.617 has been found in San Francisco's Bay Area. A virus is known to be double mutated when two mutated strains of a virus combined to form a new variant. The new double mutated strain is the combination of E484Q and L452R.

Ten states of India have reported cases of the double mutated virus. Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh are amongst them. Delhi has also reported cases of the UK strain while Punjab has reported cases of Britain strain

To date, no new symptoms have been found, except that the symptoms this time are more effective. Neither has it been found that if the vaccine upon this new strain will work successfully. The scientists and the medical team are continuously monitoring the new variant. Many nations have once again declared a precautionary lockdown for the safety of the citizens. The new strain is causing havoc amongst the public, with the number of infected people and the death toll increasing rapidly. The public is advised to stay calm and follow preventive measures wherever necessary.

The scientists and the medical team are consistently trying to create a more effective vaccine. Besides the UK variant and the double mutated variant, other variants are known to be less contagious. What the public can do now is stay alert and take preventive measures, stay safe. We need to know that we possess the ability to fight this virus, what we need is just a little help. And now that the vaccine is ready we have hope. No matter what the circumstances are today, we will be back with a good and normal life. We have faced this type of pandemic several times and we have won against it.

We will, sooner or later, won against this one too.