What To Know About The New Covid-19 Strain From The UK
By now, you've heard about the new COVID-19 strain that was first found in the UK. Before anything, we should try and understand the new mutation of the COVID-19 virus that eventually led the UK to impose a travel ban. Naturally, viruses mutate and it's not exactly surprising.
"All viruses mutate over time, some more than others. For example, flu viruses change often, which is why doctors recommend that you get a flu shot every year," Infectious Disease Expert Robert Bollinger, MD, MPH explained.
What does the new strain look like?
But the new strain affects Covid-19's appearance which makes it look spiny. The new strain also affects the spike proteins — which makes it stick to human cells — which researchers fear might make it more contagious.
Does this make the new Covid-19 strain deadlier?
Currently, there are no studies that show the new strain is deadlier. Though it spreads faster, so far, it has not really caused more death or illness.
Will the vaccines still work?
The vaccines are made to develop an immune response to protect us from the virus, no matter if a part of it has mutated. It should work — unless it "adds more mutations," according to Ravi Gupta, a professor at the University of Cambridge.
Eventually, the virus will find a way to a 'vaccine escape', which happens when a virus successfully avoids the effects of the vaccine and proceeds to infect more people. It's a good thing the vaccines that were developed can be easily modified when needed.
How do we protect ourselves from the new strain?
Preventing ourselves from getting the virus is the most important thing which only means we must continue practising health and safety protocols. Researchers still encourage each and every one of us not to be all too lax. Only this time — we need to be more cautious and stricter when practising good hygiene and social distancing.
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