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Classifying Coronavirus variants

Date: 03 May 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous


UK health authorities have started the process of classifying SARS-CoV-2 virus including the Indian variant of B.1.617.



As the pandemic is intensifying, various new strains of virus have been discovered that include the UK, Brazil, South African and Indian variant.



  • Variants in virus are caused by mutations that differentiate them from others. These mutations sometimes make it easy for them to survive in harsh conditions.

  • The circulation levels of the virus is higher that has allowed it to infect larger number of people and also mutate faster due to replications.

  • E484Q and L452R are the two mutated varieties of the B.1.617 variant and have been found for the first time together in India.

  • L452R mutation has been able to transmit more easily and can also neutralise the ability of the antibodies present in the body.


Process of classification

  • Variant of virus are taken for investigation if there are pathogenic, epidemiological, immunological properties.

  • Based on its ability to cause effects on health of individuals, it may be declared as a variant of concern by experts.

  • Variant of interest (VOI), variant of concern (VOC) and variant of high consequence is the classification used by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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