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Move over UK – The Russian Covid-19 variant is taking over!

 Move over UK – The Russian Covid-19 variant is taking over!

New Concerns in Queensland about the Russian Variant of Covid-19.

Not much is known about its contagion level. Health Authorities are working round the clock to evaluate the threat.

When news broke out in Queensland about the detection of a Russian strain of the coronavirus, concerns about the health and safety of the population became an issue for government and health authorities. Not much is known about this new Russian strain and whether the new vaccines will be effective against it. This new strain was also detected in Queensland, and experts are calling it a Russian strain.

What is the Russian Strain of the Coronavirus?

Not much is known about the new strain for now. What we do know is that it appeared and began circulating in Switzerland, Thailand, and the United Kingdom in early December 2020. The official name of the new virus variant is called B.1.1.317. Despite the deadly nature of the coronavirus and the possibility of a new strain becoming even more lethal than Covid-19 itself, experts call for calm. Experts opine that since early 2020 when Covid-19 began to spread like wildfire across the globe, there have been different strains – South African Variant, New York Variant, Brazilian Variant, and so on.

The new variants, according to experts, are no different from the foundational virus, which is the Covid-19 virus itself. They spread in exactly the same way and have the same effects on humans.

How Many cases of the new strain have been detected?

As of the time of writing this article, Queensland health authorities have only detected two cases. The victims were quarantining in the quarantine facility before they were detected as having the new Russian strain. Both victims were said to have travelled into Australia aboard a Qatar Airways QR898 flight from Doha. The Authorities also say that a genome test is being carried out on a third person who has already tested positive for the virus. There is a fourth person who also tested positive, but the victim had already flown to New Zealand. Plans are already underway to test all 74 persons in the Qatari flight.

The Health Ministry is stepping up testing for travellers coming into the country. Throat and nose swabs, as well as blood tests, are some of the testing procedures being undertaken.

Why is it called the Russian Variant?

The name applies to the region or part of the globe whence it came. Since this particular strain emanated from Russia, the name has been used to identify its country of origin. Variants occur when a virus or bacteria changes naturally. Changes may lead to improved survival ability or make the bacteria or virus even more deadly than it used to be. Experts and researchers believe that there are currently more than 100 strains, most of which are unknown, and that these mutations will continue to occur similar to what we have with influenza. Constant testing and Surveillance of the SASRS-Covid virus is the only way the world will eliminate the global threat as vaccination programs make headway.

Damien Peters

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