The SARS-COV 2 has been emerging as a strong pandemic and has affected many people across the globe. Many different strains of COVID-19 have been arising and causing disease in people round the globe. Since the emergence of this virulent virus mankind has fallen prey to infections due to its different mutating sites with reference to the spike proteins.
After widespread Alpha and Beta strains of SARS-COV 2 another variant of COVID-19 known as lineage P.1 or ‘’Gamma strain’’ arose but was soon overlooked by the increasing spread of the Delta variant that was even more contagious and dangerous than this strain.
The Gamma strain also known as the Brazilian strain also had 17 amino acid substituents and a large number of mutations N501Y,K417N and E484K which were present in the spike proteins and enhanced the ability of the variant.
First Identified: 11 January-2021 Brazil
How severe is Gamma variant?
Not much severity has been observed by this virus. The reason is that this virus has not been seen to cause disease in different areas. However, researchers found that this variant is far more transmissible (1.2-2.7 times ) than the original Wuhan strain of COVID-19.
The Gamma variant has the same mutations like that of Alpha and Delta strain but the difference among these strains is that these strains are far more transmissible than the Gamma strain of COVD-19.
Different studies show that the Gamma variant is less competent as compared to existing strains of COVID like the Alpha and Beta strains. Also in a research it was seen that the Gamma strain spreaded at a slower rate as compared to Alpha and Beta strains which were even more virulent and vast spreading.
Furthermore,this variant only spread widely in Brazil that is why it is also known as Brazilian virus . This virus also affected people in other areas and countries too but not with that severity. This variant was first reported at the Tokyo, Japan Airport in four Brazilian passengers on 10th January .After peer research and study this variant was designated to be the Brazilian variant.
Gamma variant Symptoms
The Gamma variant also designated as the Variant of concern by WHO showed no distinguishable symptoms from other variants. All the symptoms were quite similar to the previous variants of COVID-19.Body aches,fever,runny nose and other aches were common in this type of variant.However,this variant is more contagious than the previous strains of COVID-19.
How effective are vaccines against Gamma variant?
Researchers analysed the effect of vaccines against this variant. This variant had a mutation E484K which had an immune escape mechanism that helps this variant to invade inside the body and produce disease in its patients.
The effect of different vaccines and their types were inspected against this variant and then it was assessed that vaccines Pfizer and Moderna had an effect in acting as a barrier for this variant.
Also another study was conducted in Manaus among 70,000 health care workers and it was recorded that the vaccine CoronaVac was 50% effective against this particular variant of COVID known as Gamma variant.
Gamma variant Precautions
As the Gamma variant did not spread over a wide area across the globe and within a month a new variant took its place and grabbed the attention ,therefore alot of study was not made on this variant .
This variant had the ability to re-infect the people, therefore the risk of reinfectivity was greater with this variant. So, the risk of infection and the danger by this variant can also not be ignored.
Hence,taking required precautions and adopting sufficient safety measures against this variant is very crucial. According to the advice of WHO maintaining a proper distance of 1 metre, wearing a mask to avoid unnecessary outings and visiting crowded places is highly recommended.
Reference and Sources
- Delta Variant: Introduction, Transmission Rate, Symptoms and vaccination
- Beta Variant: Introduction, Symptoms, Vaccines and Prevention
- Omicron: Overview, Transmissible, Vaccination and Severity of disease
- Omicron: Introduction, Scientist vs Omicron and Vaccines for omicron
- Vaccines: Definition, Types & Functions