A year and a half has passed and the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) is still wreaking havoc in the world and around the world. While delta variants are still the most prevalent worldwide, new variants keep emerging.
R.1 COVID variant: Why should we pay attention?
Researchers have discovered another new strain, the R.1 variant, which has also led to small numbers of COVID cases in the United States and other countries. Although it has not yet been identified as a worrisome variant, experts have urged people to stay vigil because it can be highly contagious. Read on to learn more about this alternative.
What is the R.1 COVID variant?
Although this variant may seem new, the R.1 variant was only discovered in Japan last year. Since then, it has been discovered in about 35 countries, including the USA.
The latest report indicates that the variant has infected more than 10,000 people worldwide. A weekly report on morbidity and mortality from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that R.1 mutations have been present in the United States since April 2021. They were discovered in a Kentucky nursing home where many patients were fully vaccinated.
According to the CDC study, 87% of vaccinated nursing home residents had fewer symptoms than unvaccinated people. Currently, the R.1 variant has not been listed by the CDC as a variant of concern or interest.
Is it different and more worrying?
Since viruses are programmed to mutate, the R.1 variant is a strain of Sars-COV-2 virus. However, different variants can have different capabilities and limitations. Unlike the original variety, the new variant can have different effects on people.
While the delta variant remains the most efficient strain of COVID-19, scientists think we may need to look for the R.1 variant as well. As reported, the R.1 variant appears not only to show the ability to bypass protection from vaccination and monoclonal antibody treatment, but also appears to contain a number of unique mutations that can lead to replication and increased transmission.
Can he escape vaccination protection?
Whether or not a variant is able to escape vaccination protection depends on the mutations it contains.
R.1 contains a group of mutations. Apart from potential escape mutations of the spike protein in the receptor-binding domain (E484K), it also contains the W152L mutation in the N-terminal domain, a region of the spike protein that is a target of antibodies that can reduce its efficacy. According to the CDC.
Mutation 484 leads to increased resistance of antibodies in convalescent serum and monoclonal antibodies to be neutralized. The E484K is in the Beta, Gamma, Eta, Iota, and Mu variants.
This led scientists to believe that mutations in the R.1 variant give it the ability to outperform antibody protection in vaccinated individuals.
The delta variable is the dominant variant
While the newly emerging cultivars remain a cause for concern and curiosity, the delta cultivar remains the most popular and widespread.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the alternate delta Highly contagious, and twice as contagious as the previous variants. The health agency adds that some data indicates that the delta variant can cause more serious illness in unvaccinated people than in previous variants.
In a recent report, unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to develop serious illness in unvaccinated people than people who have been vaccinated, and 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and die.