It has been almost two years since the Covid-19 pandemic affected our lives. The variants of the Coronavirus continue to mutate and evolve into new ones. There are times that new variants disappear and others become more diverse and persistent.
These new variants emerging is quite concerning and alarming, especially during this ongoing pandemic that we are experiencing. Scientists and experts are continuously working together to figure out the impact of these new strains on humans. Read further and learn about the new covid variants and how to cope.
Coronavirus Variants (Sars Cov 2 Mutations)
Scientists have been developing vaccines, and many studies have named these emerging new variants of Covid 19. They monitor how these variants behave and how the surface of the virus spikes up and how quickly it spreads.
Viral mutations are usually unexpected. A variant known as B.1.1.7 was first detected in the United Kingdom, accounted for 60% of Covid 19 cases in December, and became a predominant variant in significant countries. These variant strains have more rapid and efficient transmission.
Another variant detected in the US known as B.1.351 initially appeared in South Africa can re-infect patients who already recovered from Covid 19. These variants somehow developed a resistance to existing Covid19 vaccines. This variant is associated with an increased number of deaths compared to other virus strains.
The P.1 gamma variant of Sars Cov 2 was first detected in Japan, and strains are initially identified in Brazil. It caused a deadly surge of cases in Brazil. It is composed of E484k, N501Y, and K417T mutation. This Brazilian variant has enhanced compatibility with our body’s ACE2 receptor and transmits faster.
With the frightening surge of diseases and deaths brought about by covid 19, the mere thought of it mutating into a new form sounds scary. It is natural for a virus to mutate, especially if they contain RNA as genetic material.
As the virus infects one of our healthy cells, they can multiply or make copies. Mutation happens when there is an error that occurs during the replication process. When this virus mutates, new strains and variants are created.
How Coronavirus Variants Attack the Human Body
Sars Cov 2 virus infects the body as it enters the healthy cells. The spike protein of the virus attaches itself to the receptors of the healthy cells, especially in the lungs. It creates a copy inside the cell and continues to multiply all throughout the body.
When the protein of the virus enters the cell, it takes control and eradicates some of the healthy cells. The lower part of the respiratory tract has more ACE2 receptors where the virus spike protein latches, so Covid 19 goes rooted than common viruses such as common colds.
How COVID 19 Is Transmitted?
- Covid 19 is transmitted through droplets, fomites, and through contact when a person sneezes or coughs and inhaled by another person and gets infected.
- The virus mainly spread quickly with closer contact or within a 1-meter range. It could also spread to people within a close air-conditioned room and with no proper ventilation.
- Infection can also be attained after touching a surface with contaminated droplets and touching your mouth, eyes, and nose without proper handwashing.
Vaccine Against COVID 19 Variants
As the new variants of Covid 19 circulate within the human population, the chances of mutating increase. Factors like the rate of transmission and incubation periods also change. Then new studies have yet to be done, and it sends panic to everyone.
Newly developed Covid 19 vaccines are expected to equip human beings with protection from the new variants. Current vaccines involve various cells and antibodies that bring out an enormous immune response against the virus.
Scientists and researchers from CDC assures the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines in preventing severe illness brought about by the virus that causes Covid 19. Vaccines also reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Those who have already received the vaccine are monitored under the supervision of the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are the nation’s agency that helps protect the health of the people.
Are the New COVID 19 Variants More Alarming?
The Brazilian and South Africa Coronavirus variants are mutated in a matter that their protein spike escapes the T-cell antibody neutralization. T-cell immunity is the body’s defense mechanism against the Coronavirus. The T-cell of a person depends on his immune response and the composition of his HLA genes.
Since B.1.351 variants can dodge the body’s immune system, scientists conducted more studies. They found out that the same variant triggers antibodies that fend off old variants of the Coronavirus. Ongoing researches suggest that it is possible that our vaccines can cope with the old, new, and future Sars Cov 2 variants.
Precautions From the Mutated Coronavirus Variants
There is not much proof that these new variants are different from the old ones, suggesting that preventive methods stay the same.
- If you have not received the vaccine yet, it is strictly advisable to wear masks and face shield even indoors in public places.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other people and avoid being in close contact with sick people. Keep in mind that some people are asymptomatic or a carrier who could easily spread the virus.
- Continue to stay at home and avoid the chance of being exposed to new variants.
- Cut down the size of your social bubble that you can manage for easier contact tracing.
- Infections are mostly acquired through outdoor contacts. Limiting your time outdoors reduces your risk of being infected with new coronavirus variants.
- Also, avoid crowded and social gatherings, especially when it involves singing and vocal participation, since it can lead to an extensive spread of infection.
- Proper handwashing or apply hand sanitizers. Keep a bottle of sanitizer and disinfect your hands as often as possible, especially after touching public surfaces such as ATMs and public chairs.
- Get vaccinated. Vaccines are safe and effective in protecting you from the virus.
Your Immune System Against the New Variants
Strengthening your immune system increases your chance of surviving your battle against Coronavirus. Our body has antibodies that protect us from bacteria and viruses to reach major organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs.
Boost your immune system with proper nutrition. Eating food such as oranges, broccoli, and strawberries rich in Vitamin C supplies your body with antibodies that fight against infection.
Vitamin D is critical for immune function as it enhances immune responses by improving the function of the immune cells, including the T-cells, to protect us against pathogens. Foods rich in Vitamin D are salmon, bread, cereals as well as fortified milk.
Cope With New COVID-19 Strains
More people receive the vaccine from different companies such as Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson&Johnson to protect themselves from the new strains of Coronavirus. These vaccines help develop human immunity against Covid variants. After taking the vaccine, the body then develops antibodies that improve our immune responses to fight Covid 19.
The Covid 19 pandemic has caused severe stress and anxiety to most of us. Being correctly informed by watching the latest news and update regarding the latest Covid variants and vaccines could help ease our minds and lessen our doubts about surviving these difficult times.
Emotional and Mental Coping During Coronavirus Pandemic
Overcoming these waves of the pandemic due to gradual discoveries and surges of new strains of the variant has caused an emotional and mental dilemma. Economic regression had affected us negatively and caused more barriers to patients who already have an underlying illness.
The closure of learning facilities and social distancing had caused depression in younger generations. Researchers had proved that due to these economic downturns and distress, suicidal and substance abuse rates are soaring.
Each of us reacts differently under stress, and with that said, we also have different coping strategies. Here are some of the tips to protect your mental health during the pandemic.
- Assess your mental health even in isolation. During self-isolation, to prevent mental health decline, try to focus on your thoughts or changes with your behavioral pattern. Have a short self-evaluation of your mind and body to make sure that you are still mentally fit.
- Get in touch with your loved ones, even just through phone calls and social media. Do not completely isolate yourself from the people you love and the outside world.
- Try to avoid “fake news” by reading only from reputable sources of information such as newspapers and official health websites.
- When in quarantine, take care of your mental health. Wake up and sleep at the same time every day, eat healthy foods, exercise, and don’t watch too much TV.
- Have your own financial plan. A lot of us have lost our jobs due to the viral outbreak. Having a budget at home won’t hurt and could help you stretch your savings for the rainy days.
Are You Emotionally and Mentally Exhausted?
We are all told to boost our immune system, wash our hands, stay at home and be healthy during this pandemic. These are all important in taking care of your physical health. But what about your mental health? It’s been almost two years, and we’re quite not sure when this pandemic will end.
As the world continues to heal, all we can do is take care of our physical and mental health. If you’re experiencing a mental health decline, may it be due to isolation, separation anxiety, or depression, talk to a counselor at Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC) today. Schedule an appointment now and enjoy the perks of online mental health counseling.