Variant = Mutation. (COVID-19)

Image: The Coronavirus Cell

I wondered shortly yesterday if the newly discovered COVID variants had been ruled out as “mutations”. How else could they pop up in people who haven’t traveled to or know contacts who have been to locations known to have a variant case?

Doesn’t the science on COVID say that this is possible? 

In order to answer this question, I’m going to rely on recent studies which may be few and lacking in a fine ingredient- time. What I’m looking for is observation of the virus itself at the cellular level. What I know is the spiked cell known as COVID-19…

I remembered how I know what I know is from looking at the CDC website on the first variant found in London. The section on variants has changed since I last visited, but today it says:

“Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, a large family of viruses. Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces. Scientists monitor changes in the virus, including changes to the spikes on the surface of the virus. These studies, including genetic analyses of the virus, are helping us understand how changes to the virus might affect how it spreads and what happens to people who are infected with it.”


There it is… first sentence. Thank you, go home. 

Almost… My question came from the language used in NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt yesterday. Holt himself spoke of a variant found in Africa and it sounded like he thought it was a strain of marijuana, again, just in the language of it. I wish I had a quote. 

But just as a point of clarification, a mutation in the virus that causes COVID-19 is exactly what a variant is. That says to me that the virus is evolving, and the fact that it spreads faster now worries me. 

I don’t know when my population of eligibility will be vaccinated. Don’t really know which tier of vulnerability I am classified as. That worries me too.

But you can at least classify me as ready to be vaccinated, sure of it’s efficacy, I’d prefer the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccination, but I can only speculate on where I am in what I’m very certain is a long, long line. At least scientists are sure that the vaccines will still be as effective on any current variant/mutation of the virus as it is with the virus we’ve been dealing with for about a year now.

Stay safe. Even if you get vaccinated, wear a mask, keep your distance from people outside your home, and wash your hands.

Be well.

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