Coronavirus: The New Strain

But wait there’s more! As if 2020 was not bad enough, 2021 decided to bring with it a brand-new strain of the Coronavirus.

Simply put, a strain or a variant is the same virus, just in a slightly different version.  New variants happen when a virus is able to grow inside a person’s body and make copies of itself that can contain differences to the initial strain. This can also be termed a “mutation” of the virus.

Take for example every flue season you will find new strains of the flue virus doing the rounds. This is very much like the new strain of the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, the new strain of COVID19 is far more transmissible than the older strain.

Where did The New Strain Start?

The new strain of the Coronavirus was first detected in October 2020.  The Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium were able to analyze the full genetic code of the coronavirus in two samples that had been collected from different people. By December this new strain was associated with a rapid amount of rising cases in some parts of the UK (source).

Virologists have suspected that the virus mutation occurred in a patient who was already suffering from a severely suppressed immune system. This person more than likely carried and incubated the Sars-Cov-2 virus for a long period of time before infecting someone else.

Covid Variant Symptoms vs. Covid Original Symptoms

Myalgia is one of the most common symptoms of the Coronavirus and can be experienced with moderate to severe infections.  The new strain, however, is causing many people to report muscle aches and pains as one of the first symptoms to be felt with the onset of the virus.

The reason for this is that some viruses can actually cause damage to muscle tissue and cause inflammation as well as immune system reactions causing an increase in abnormal muscle tissue breakdown.

Another common symptom associated with Covid-19 is fatigue. This symptom was reported with the older strain and has now more than ever been associated with the newer strain of the virus. Fatigue normally occurs as a result of a high fever that is caused by the virus and can also be a side-effect of viral replication occurring in a patient’s body.

Other symptoms such as a sore throat and dry persistent cough have also been associated with both the old and the new strain of Covid-19. It must be noted, however, that now even more so with the newer strain are these symptoms experienced.

A few other symptoms such as a runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of taste and smell can also be experienced with both strains of the virus.

The table below shows the differences in percentages that each variant of the Covid19 virus contributes to the following symptoms:

SymptomsOriginal StrainNew Variant
Dry Cough28%35%
Fatigue and Weakness29%32&%
Muscle aches and pains21%25%
Sore throat19%22%
Loss of taste19%16%
Loss of Smell19%15%

Covid New Variant: The Facts

  1. This new variant is able to spread a lot quicker than the initial virus causing a high rise in infections due to it being much easier to contract.
  2. The mutation allows the virus to enter human cells easier than the previous strain.
  3. It is still spread in exactly the same way which is though droplets in the air or contact with infected surfaces.
  4. Wearing masks, sanitising and practicing social distancing are still the best ways to avoid contracting the virus.
  5. Scientists still do not know if someone who has already had the Covid-19 older variant can get infected with the new variant.
  6. Covid-19 tests still work in the same way and a nasal swab or any other testing will still be able to pick up the infection in a person’s system.

There are many new strains of Covid-19 doing the rounds all over the world, and no doubt there will be many more. Experts are, however, most concerned about the following types of strains that have emerged from different parts of the world.

  • K. or British variant – B117
  • South Africa variant – 501Y.V2 or B.1.351
  • Brazil variant – P.1
  • California variant – CAL.20C

Disease experts have said that the South African variant is a lot more contagious than they had previously thought, although they are yet to find out as to whether or not it can cause more serious illness and mortality.

PPE Is Now More Important than Ever

We live in uncertain and unprecedented times and Covid19 may be here to stay for a few years to come.  Unfortunately, the chances of the virus mutating even further is quite possible. While this is a scary thought, it is important to bear in mind that safety is key.

PPE equipment is now more important than it ever due to the higher risk of transmission of the new strains of the virus.

Some people may get the virus and not even know that they have it, others may experience only mild symptoms, and there are the unfortunate few that will suffer from severe symptoms and possibly even death.  It is also a fact that co-morbidities can make you nine times more likely to die from the Coronavirus.

As concerning as this may be, we at Protective Hygiene are aware of the critical need for PPE equipment in South Africa. We pride ourselves on being fast, efficient and reliable. In a time where PPE is needed, we understand that it is essential that our customers get their products on time every time!!

Our various pick up areas are equipped with competent and friendly staff who are always willing to go the extra mile to help you and keep you and your family safe.

Protective Hygiene are proud suppliers of Hand Sanitiser, Infrared Thermometers, Oxy meters, Masks, Gloves, Face Shields and Thermometers and much more!

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