COVID-19 and mutations a threat level assessment

Keywords: COVID-19 Virus variants, Genetic Variation, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351, SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant, SARS-CoV-2 P.1, SARS-CoV-2 variants

Abstract

A mutation is defined as an alteration in the DNA or RNA sequences of a genome which may consequently confer a new phenotypic and or genotypic advantage both increasing the virulence as well as the survival of a virus or pathogen. At this current point in time there are 4 known major variants of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, namely the English variant, the South African variant, the Brazilian variant and a variant similar to that of the South African variant found in North America, all of which have varying levels of resistance and infectivity. It is evident that the SARS-CoV-2 variants pose an international health risk, the mutations of E484K and N501Y are the two most implicated mutations. E484K being the most concerning as it aids in immune evasion and drastically causes the efficacy of the current vaccines to be reduced by large margins. The most worrisome variant is the South African or B.1.351 which harbors the above mutations. it is of the upmost importance that targeted vaccines are synthesized to ensure the that immunized individuals have effective protection against these variants. Until these specific targeted vaccines are synthesized the current vaccines offer little long-term protection, however do confer a level of immunity to stop severe infections. It is thus advised that current vaccination programs should continue in earnest as a degree of protection is conferred.

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Author Biographies

Jared Robinson, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College: Belle Rive, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College: Belle Rive, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius

Indrajit Banerjee, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College: Belle Rive, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College: Belle Rive, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius

Alexandra Leclézio, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College: Belle Rive, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius

Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College: Belle Rive, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius

Brijesh Sathian, Geriatric and long term care Department, Rumailah Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Scientist, Geriatric and long term care Department, Rumailah Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Published
2021-03-31
How to Cite
Robinson, J., Banerjee, I., Leclézio, A., & Sathian, B. (2021). COVID-19 and mutations a threat level assessment. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology, 11(1), 983-987. https://doi.org/10.3126/nje.v11i1.35659
Section
Short Communications