The Gamma variant is twice as transmittable as the original.
Mèrida, Yucatàn, (July 16, 2021).- This Thursday, July 15th, it was announced that in Yucatan the Gamma variant of coronavirus is the most prevalent, with 433 cases currently circulating in the state.
But what are the characteristics of this variant?
Gamma is the name that the World Health Organization (WHO) gave to the P.1. Lineage, a variant of Covid that was discovered in Manaus (Brazil) in early January 2021 and has 15 unique mutations.
Research published in Science showed that it has transmissibility between 1.7 and 2.4 times higher than the original variant of the coronavirus.
Also, this variant is more likely to develop complications at a younger age, and the possibility of reinfection can vary between 25 and 60%.
It also has a certain ability to evade antibodies generated by vaccines or previous Covid infections. In fact, the protection of vaccines is reduced by around 30%, so its severity is greater than the original variant.
Consequently, Gamma is the main responsible for the saturation of hospitals by Covid cases in Brazil in March 2021 and is currently the variant that predominates in many Latin American countries.
In Mexico, 24 variants of Covid have been detected, with Alpha, Gamma, and Delta being the ones with the greatest presence in the national territory. However, the Delta still “has a smaller proportion” and in Yucatan, Health authorities have only detected three cases.
What is a variant?
During replication, a virus often undergoes genetic changes that can create what are called variants.
Some mutations weaken the virus and others can produce an advantage that allows it to proliferate. If the changes produce a version with distinctively different physical characteristics, the variant can be collectively called a kink.
Ancestors can be identified as a new lineage or branched out on the evolutionary tree.
What are the most dangerous variants?
The World Health Organization (WHO) uses “variants of concern” to classify strains that pose additional risks to public health.
It also uses the category of “emerging interest variants” for those that warrant close monitoring due to increased potential risk.
These have been assigned letters of the Greek alphabet for identification. Until June 29, the WHO identified four variants of concern and seven variants of interest:
- Alpha or B.1.1.7, found in England
- Beta or B.1.351, found in South Africa.
- Gamma or P.1, B.22.214.171.124, first detected in Brazil and Japan
- Delta or B.1.617.2 first registered in India
This variant emerged in England in September 2020 and led to a winter surge in cases that sent the UK back into lockdown in January.
This variant that appeared in South Africa in August 2020 led to a resurgence of Covid cases that overwhelmed southern Africa. It has been detected in at least 120 countries.
This variant, whose case was first known in the Amazonian city of Manaus, has contributed to an increase in hospitalization cases in Brazil, where oxygen shortages have been recorded. It has been found in at least 72 countries.
This fast-spreading variant fueled a dramatic wave of Covid in India with an exponential increase in infections that overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums. Since then it has been found in at least 96 countries.
The Yucatan Times Newsroom