Gamma: What’s Important To Know About This SARS-CoV-2 Variant Of Concern

women dealing paycut, coronavirus gamma variant
Coronavirus Gamma Variant: The Gamma variant of coronavirus, first documented in Brazil, is estimated to have now spread across the world. The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) variant, also known as P.1, led to a deadly surge in COVID-19 cases in Brazil this year and has now been detected in small quantities in Russia.

Russia’s latest surge in coronavirus cases, with 24,471 new COVID-19 patients and 796 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, is being blamed on the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and the slow rate of vaccinations. However, the Interfax news agency cited the developer behind Russia’s EpiVacCorona vaccine as saying that isolated cases of the Gamma variant have been also detected on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Here are ten things to know about the Gamma variant of coronavirus:

1. In early January 2021, the National Institute of Infectious Disease of Japan announced that the travelers, who had returned to Japan from Brazil, were infected with a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. That variant was Gamma.

2. Gamma variant led to a deadly surge in COVID-19 cases in Brazil this year and has now been spread to more than 10 other countries, including the UK.

3. Earlier this year, more than 200 cases had been detected in Wisconsin and the Brazil variant was reported to be more than twice as transmissible as the original, according to figures analysed by researchers in Brazil.

4. The researchers also believed that the Gamma variant is estimated to be 1.7 to 2.4 times more transmissible than other local strains in Brazil.

5. The Gamma variant, according to researchers, has some of the same mutations in its spike protein as the Alpha and Beta strains, which allow it to attach more easily to human cells. According to the Global Virus Network (GVN), this variant mutates N501Y, K417N and E484K in the “receptor building domain of spike protein”, tend to amplify its affinity to human receptors. Most importantly, this variant tends to escape from the immune responses of the body. With each mutation, the virus becomes more contagious than its previous strains. However, a study showed that the Gamma variant is less resistant to antibody responses from previous illness or vaccination than the Beta variant.

6. The Delta and Gamma variants have been categorised as “causing concern” because they spread more easily and can reduce the effectiveness of antibodies.

7. Italian researchers were tracking the spread of Alpha and Gamma variants and found that the Alpha variant became increasingly common while the Gamma variant did not.

8. In a new study, researchers in the US and Japan have found that vaccination with an mRNA vaccine induces antibody responses that would protect humans from infection with the gamma/P.1 variant. Researchers suggest that previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccines that are based on earlier strains of the virus still provide protection against infection with Gamma.

9. Preliminary data suggested it could be up to twice as infectious as the original strain, while more research puts that figure even higher, at 2.5 times as transmissible.

10. The variant is said to be relatively resistant to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. Meanwhile according to a study, China’s CoronaVac vaccine is 50 percent effective in preventing the illness 14 days after the first dose of the vaccine was administered.

Feature Image Credit: Chain Store Age

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