The B1617 COVID-19 Strain: A New Threat on the Horizon

The B1617 Coronavirus mutant strain has the global community on its toes as it is shaping up to be a biological wildfire that could dwarf Pandemic 1.0

The covid-19 B1617 Variant

Just as the world is about to breathe a collectively-held breath of relief amidst global vaccination drives, nation-wide lockdowns and aggressive healthcare protocols being implemented as if lives depended on it (and they do), a new enemy (the B1617 Covid-19 strain) has reared its head and could make what we experienced in 2020 look like a walk in the park.

The Scope of a New Pandemic

Despite the multiple strains of coronavirus mutations that have come into play, none are more concerning than the B1617 coronavirus variant, “offensively” known as the ‘Indian Strain’ . The virus, which was detected all the way back in October of 2020 has spread like a literal biological wildfire as it has made its way to over 50 different countries as per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) reports. This is a notable concern given that the majority of the world remained under heavy lock and key for the past 6 months.

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The global health body has deemed it a ‘variant of global concern’ with scientists stating that it is nearly two times more transmissible than the one the world was introduced to in Wuhan over a year ago.

Are We Any More Prepared than We Were Last Year?

Research has shown that the weapons to fight this bio-menace do exist. Vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have proven to be effective in the fight against Covid-19 variant B1617 strain, but the question of the hour is this: How much of the world actually have access to these vaccines?

For starters, India  – does not have access to these vaccines, and with a population so dense and large, the rate of vaccination is too low to effectively combat the new strain without said doses.

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India aside, the majority of Asian, African and South American countries have some of the lowest overall vaccination rates in the world and for them, it would be a blow of unparalleled proportions once the variant strain infiltrates the majority of the population. Some of the most affected countries include places like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in Asia; Senegal, Rwanda, the Ivory Coast and Namibia in Africa; as well as Guatemala, Angola and Cuba in the South American region.

With what looks like a new and more nefarious pandemic that is rearing up to trample global communities, only time will tell if the world will rally in this time of crisis.

Tom Oakley is a news junkie and a story chaser. He enjoys writing about youth-related issues in a relatable way. He prefers to write about the things that matter instead of the things that are trending.