HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT COVID-19 VARIANTS
According to the data released by different counties, all of the available vaccines in the market have recorded a 72% up to 96% effectivity rate against all variants. We encourage our ka-tambays to get vaccinated as soon as possible and always remember the best vaccines are the ones that are currently available to you.
Just when we thought that we are about to be free from the plague that is COVID-19, it has mutated into variants that are far more dangerous than the original virus. And to help you, our dear ka-tambays, to understand what this means — let us delve in together and talk about what it means when a virus mutates.
Viruses change over time and SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is no different. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other partner organizations have been monitoring these changes since January 2020. And so far, hundreds of variations of this virus have been identified.
Worry not because many of these mutations have little to no impact on the virus’ properties. Precarious as it may sound, many of these mutations are not something we should worry about. However, as this virus mutates it may also change the genetic material of the virus. The mutations of these genetic materials may affect the virus’ properties such as transmission — causing it to spread easier — or severity — which may increase the fatality of the virus.
Here in the Philippines, we have detected a total of five (5) different variants. These are the Alpha variant or B.1.1.7. variant which was first detected in the United Kingdom, the Beta variant or B.1.351 variant first detected in South Africa, the Delta variant or B.1.617.2 variant first detected in India, Gamma variant or P.1 variant first detected in Brazil, and the P.3 variant which was first detected here in the Philippines.
As of the writing of this article, there are a total of 1,856 Alpha variant cases 18 of which are still active and 1,719 have recovered while 117 have died. The Beta variant has the most number of variant cases with 2,146 with 19 active cases and 2,049 have recovered and 74 have died. The Delta variant has a total of 216 variant cases 16 of which are still active, 192 have recovered and 74 have died. On the other hand, the Gamma variant has a total of 2 variant cases all of which have recovered. While the P.3 variant has 266 variant cases with only 1 active case and 262 have recovered and 3 have died.
According to numerous research and continuous monitoring, these variants have increased properties compared to the original virus. The Alpha and Beta variants have a 50% increase in transmission while the Delta variant has been shown to spread easier in indoor sports settings and households. While all of these variants have increased the risk of hospitalization and might reduce the effectiveness of the vaccines.
But fear not our dear ka-tambays! Because despite the vaccines being slightly less effective, it was seen that all of the available vaccines still provide ample protection against COVID-19, regardless of the variants. According to the data released by different counties, all of the available vaccines in the market have recorded a 72% up to 96% effectivity rate against all variants.
So, if you are thinking of whether or not to get vaccinated, take this article as a sign to get that first shot. And as they say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The POST would like to encourage everyone to get vaccinated and always remember the best vaccines are the ones that are currently available to you.