First there was COVID-19, then the Delta variant, then the Mu variant. Now, the most recently talked variant is R.1.
“The R.1 variant is a version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has mutations associated with changes in the function of the virus,” according to Health. Due to this variant changing the function of the virus, this variant will affect those infected differently than the first version of the COVID-19 virus.
Health also reports that the R.1 variant isn’t likely to “overtake the Delta variant as the most severe or transmissible mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
The first cases of R.1, the latest COVID-19 variant to surface in the United States, were detected in Japan last year. The first cases of R.1 in the United States were discovered in a nursing home outbreak in Kentucky. It is reported that both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients were affected by this mutation.
The R.1 variant is said to have mutations that would “allow it to be less susceptible to the vaccine,” Dr. Joe DeRisi, a UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics, told ABC7.
There are many fearing that the vaccine would prove to be ineffective at fighting off new mutations and variants of the COVID-19 virus. Despite this, it is still recommended that all eligible people get vaccinated as this is the most effective way to fight against the COVID-19 virus.
“There is promising evidence to suggest that the current vaccines will protect you from most variants, or mutations, of COVID-19 that are currently spreading in the United States” and that “If a vaccine is found to be less effective, it could still offer some protection,” said Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
The most important thing to take away from this is that the pandemic is not over. No one should be acting like it is. Continue to get vaccinated, wear masks and face coverings when around others, practice social distancing, and disinfect surfaces. The harder everyone works to fight against the COVID-19 virus and all of the variants and mutations, the faster things will begin to improve.
By Cierra Lemott, Sophomore, Columbia College Chicago
Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak