Thursday, February 18, 2021

Canada: New coronavirus variants gaining ground

Global News shows that Canada is making progress reducing the spread of the dangerous deadly coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. After peaking at nearly 8,000 new cases in January, virus infections have now fallen to below 3,000 per day. However, the bad news is that highly-contagious new variants are certainly "gaining ground" and have been detected in all 10 provinces in Canada.
In the time of 2 weeks, the number of active cases in N.L. has jumped from 14 to 338 with 44 new virus cases confirmed Wednesday. It’s believed the spike has been driven by the U.K. variant.
Scientists are certainly learning new details about these new virus variants. Some viruses have combined to form a mutated hybrid. It is not known if this hybrid poses a bigger threat.

Hopefully, a bigger third wave doesn't happen with new dangerous virus variants.

British Columbia has now identified more than 60 cases of COVID-19 involving "variants of concern." That includes the province's single case of the variant B.1.525, the weird mutation first detected in Nigeria. The Nigerian variant is classified as a "variant under investigation," because researchers are still trying to determine whether its mutations make it more contagious.

Experts say B1525, referred to as the Nigerian variant, should now be the subject of surge testing to limit the spread of the deadly virus. There have been 38 cases of the so-called Nigerian variant identified in the UK as of Tuesday 16 February.

The Nigerian variant contains the same genetic change - E484K - also found in the Brazilian and South African variants.

A virus is really a small collection of genetic code, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a certain protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone, it seems. Viruses must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make various copies of themselves.

DNA and RNA are different in their structure, functions, and stabilities. DNA has 4 nitrogen bases: adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. For RNA: instead of thymine, it has uracil. Also, DNA is double-stranded and RNA is single-stranded. This is why RNA can leave the nucleus and DNA can't.

COVID-19 (short for "coronavirus disease 2019") is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Like many other viruses, SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus. This means that, unlike in humans and other mammals, the genetic material for SARS-CoV-2 is encoded in ribonucleic acid (RNA).

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