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Explained: How are the coronavirus variants classified?

Health authorities in the UK have said that two variants from the or the so-called Indian variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been identified and are being monitored as Variants Under Investigation (VUI). So far, the UK has reported over 400 cases of the B.1.617 variant of the in the country. Earlier in March, India’s Health Ministry said that a new “double mutant variant” of the coronavirus had been detected in addition to many other strains or in the country. But first, what is a variant and how do they emerge? Variants of a virus have one or more mutations that differentiate it from the other variants that are in circulation. While most mutations are deleterious for the virus, some make it easier for the virus to survive. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is evolving fast because of the scale at which it has infected people around the world. High levels of circulation mean it is easier for the virus to change as it is able to replicate faster.........Read more