A year and a half have passed by and COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in and around the world. While the Delta variants remain to be the most dominant strain globally, new variants continue to emerge every now and then. Researchers have detected another new strain, R.1 variant, that has also led to a small number of COVID cases in the US and other countries as well. Although it has not yet been termed as a variant of concern, experts have urged people to stay vigilant, as it could be very infectious. Read on to find out more about this variant.
What is the R.1 COVID variant?
As new as this variant may sound, the R.1 variant was first discovered last year in Japan. Since then, it has been detected in around 35 countries, including the United States of America.
The latest report suggests that the variant has infected more than 10,000 people worldwide. A Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that the R.1 mutations have existed in the US since April 2021. It was detected in a Kentucky nursing home, where many of the patients were fully vaccinated. According to a CDC study, 87% of the vaccinated residents of the nursing home were less likely to develop symptoms as compared to unvaccinated individuals.
Is R.1 COVID variant different and more concerning?
Given that viruses are programmed to mutate, the R.1 variant is a strain of the Sars-COV-2 virus. However, different variants may have different potentials and limitations. Unlike the original strain, the new variant can affect people differently. While the Delta variant continues to be the most proficient strain of COVID-19. Scientists believe that we might have to watch out for the R.1 variant too. As per reports, besides showcasing an ability to evade vaccine protection and monoclonal antibody treatment. The R.1 variant seems to possess a set of unique mutations that may lead to replication and increased transmission.