What’s important about Covid-19 variants? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Alpha, Beta, Delta, and most recently Mu. Variants of Sars-CoV2 are constantly arising but only some of them reach the level where they are monitored. Stuart Ray, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Ray: We see variants arising all the time. But occasionally a variant will have genetic features, that are features that have been associated with changes in variants that have become dominant. Those mutations of interest can qualify a variant as being a variant of interest. They become variants of concern when they spread enough to play a significant role in the epidemic. Some observations of increased transmissibility, partial evasion of immune responses and so that makes them variants of concern.  :29

The World Health Organization developed the naming convention for Sars-CoV2 variants based on the Greek alphabet, which was welcomed by many because it simplifies communications about which ones are spreading most easily in different parts of the world, and may also help in developing vaccines. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.