A New Covid-19 Strain On The Rise

Oliver Galvan Mauricio, Staff Reporter

Since November 17, 2019, the new coronavirus, commonly known as Covid-19, has spread in various parts of the globe. Towards the end of last year, various companies throughout the world, with some of them located within the United States, have developed multiple vaccines to aid in combating this threatening virus. However, Coivd-19 has proven to be quite the challenger, as it has a wide variety of variants. And one of them has begun to raise the number of cases rapidly.

This new strain of Covid-19 is known as B.1.1.7.

Origin Point: The United Kingdom

The first case of the variant B.1.1.7. was first registered in the United Kingdom. Since January 13, as informed by the Public Health England, there have been 1,108 C0vid-19 cases with the B.1.1.7. strain reported in the nation on December 14. Areas where the virus flowed about were “predominantly in the south and east of England,” notes TheScientist. Due to the growing amount of cases, the United Kingdom made the decision to shut down its ports in an effort to reduce the spread of the new variant. Other countries have taken similar actions, mainly the restriction of  travel to and arrivals from the United Kingdom.

Despite the measures done, B.1.1.7. has made its way out of the UK and into various parts of the globe, including the United States.

Global Expansion

As stated by TheScientist, on December 30, 2020, an elderly Colorado resident was identified carrying the new strain. Since that day, various reports have been piling up in many parts of the United States, including California, mentioned the Post-Gazette.

To this day, a wide array of countries have confirmed the presence of this new coronavirus strain within their respective zones. As listed by The New York Times, nations aside from the UK and USA with current cases are “Turkey, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.” Taiwan is also reporting a rise of cases. Next door, Mexico’s Secretary of Health, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, has also stated that the new variant is likely present on Mexican soil.

Characteristics of the B.1.1.7. Strain

Concern over this new strain and the effects it has on people is high. According to recent research done by scientists,  variant B.1.1.7. has “17 mutations.” Out of those 17, eight of those mutations have the capability to bind and infiltrate the body cells, as noted by an official report regarding the new variant.

However, while it has not been reported to be deadly, it has been stated it spreads faster, though this varies according to the amount of people in the area.

Like Covid-19, it is advised to take the same precautions: wear a mask when heading outdoors, continue practicing social distancing and to remain indoors unless otherwise.