COVID-19 variants: WHO closely monitors variants of ‘interest’, ‘concern’

COVID-19 variants: WHO closely monitors variants of 'interest', 'concern'

The World Health Organization stated that they categorized seven COVID-19 “variants of interest” and three “variants of concern.”

The number of COVID-19 variants continues to increase every day. As the coronavirus persists in spreading across nations, the more it will remain in mutation.

Despite this, the World Health Organization stated that not all variants are important. Only a few of them are on their “watchlist,” categorizing them as “variants of interest” and “variants of concern.”

CNBC reported that the institution revealed which of these strains belong on the list on Monday. As publicized, there are now “closely watching” ten variants, seven of which are under the “interest” and three are on the “concern” side.

COVID-19 variants “watchlist” from WHO

The COVID-19 variants of concern are a “more serious designation” for the mutated strains that are “more contagious, more deadly, and more resistant” to vaccines and other treatments.

In their latest press release, the World Health Organization revealed three strains under this category. These include the B.1.1.7 from the United Kingdom, B.1.351 from South Africa, and P.1 from Brazil.

While the variant first found in India, B.1617, remains under the “variant of interest,” technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said that more studies are necessary to understand the significance.

The other COVID-19 variants that are on the watchlist include B.1525 from the U.K. and Nigeria, B.1.616 from France, B.1427/B.1429, and S477N from the U.S., P.2 from Brazil, and P.3 from Japan and the Philippines.

COVID-19 variants "watchlist" from WHO

Other notable variants across the globe

Days before WHO’s release, Brampton Guardian reported that there are 14 notable COVID-19 variants found across the globe. The list includes the top ten mutated strains on the World Health Organization’s watchlist.

But, aside from the categorized variants, the other notable strains are B.1.1.207 from Nigeria, B.1.1.318 from the U.K., B.1.526 from the U.S., B.1.1.317 from Russia, and the now-believed-extinct Cluster 5 variant from Denmark.

Are COVID-19 vaccines still effective?

Many now ask whether the vaccines are still effective against all mutations. It is not surprising, considering the increasing rate of mutations and worsening conditions of the pandemic.

But, while worries remain apparent, infectious disease doctors said that vaccinated individuals need not worry. Healthline released a report on the matter, detailing what infectious disease doctors had said.

As reported, data from clinical trials show that the COVID-19 vaccines can prevent infection even in the face of new COVID-19 variants. Moreover, the vaccines can still reportedly “drastically cut” the risks of severe contraction and hospitalization.

Images courtesy of World Health Organization (WHO)/YouTube

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