The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2019 and spread over the world, swiftly became a worldwide health issue. Nowadays, the pandemic whose heat was left behind the intense crisis of the first days, is now back on the table due to new variants.
COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, putting countries’ development levels and healthcare capacity to the test because of its quick spread and devastating impacts on individuals. Let’s review the current situation by refreshing what we know about COVID-19 and its source, SARS-CoV-2, since it’s first observation.
COVID-19 virus; SARS-COV-2
COVID-19 illness is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which belongs to the same coronavirus family as SARS and MERS. SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted through coughing, sneezing or close contact. It is well established that transmission increases in shared areas such as the home, office, and school.
Patients with the infection may have fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, and other symptoms. However, some people may have the virus but not show symptoms, making it much easier for the infection to spread if measures are not followed. Precautions that can be taken include wearing a mask, social distancing, quarantining, testing and vaccinations.
Variants: A Natural Process
First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that the mutation and emergence of new variants are a natural part of a virus’s life cycle. SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, is no exception. As the virus replicates in the host, mutations occur, and the majority of these alterations have no influence on the virus’s behaviour. However, sometimes a mutation might provide the virus a survival advantage, resulting in the formation of a new variant.
The Omicron variant, the only variant of COVID-19 still in circulation, differs from other variants in that it contains many different mutations. When compared to the Delta variant, Omicron is associated with lower rates of hospitalisation and mortality. However, this dramatically raises the chance of the virus spreading from person to person.
The emergence of new sub-variants by the Omicron variant, which has a high rate of infection, becomes an inevitable situation in the normal course of the virus.
Eris (EG.5) and Pirola (BA.2.86)
Eris (EG.5) and Pirola (BA.2.86), which evolved from the Omicron variety, are among the latest variants of SARS-CoV-2 that have attracted attention. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) status report issued in September, Eris is on the second list and Pirola is on the third list in the concern rating of COVID-19 monitoring lists. The list of “variants of concern,” which could be considered the most serious, is luckily empty. So, what exactly do these lists mean?
Although research is underway, it is safe to say that the Eris variation has no major impact on the severity of the disease. But studies showing the variant’s increased ability to evade immunity and its increasing share among circulating variants put it on the list of variants to watch. Studies on the BA.2.86 variant, also known as Pirola, are still very new. Although this variant has no substantial impact on hospitalisation rates, it is closely monitored by researchers and health professionals due to the multiple mutations it contains.
Researchers throughout the world, as well as multinational organisations like the World Health Organisation, monitor EG.5 and BA.2.86 variants, among others, and publish weekly updates to keep the public informed. Scientists and health professionals are working around the clock to battle the epidemic and safeguard the world.
How Does It Affect You?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global health crisis due to its unknowns and rapid development. As a company at the forefront of the development of PCR kits that detect SARS-CoV-2, we understand that the public may have concerns.
The rapid evolution of the virus, the emergence of new variants, and changes in its immune and infectious properties all require constant monitoring, research and adaptation. We would want to emphasise, however, that the foundations of preventative measures remain unchanged.
In this process, it is important for individuals to take personal responsibility and comply with health rules. Following the advice of experts, wearing a mask, paying attention to hand hygiene, maintaining physical distance, getting vaccinated and paying attention to current, reliable news continue to be effective strategies against COVID-19 and its variants.
Our Assurance to You
As Anatolia Geneworks, our mission has been to provide reliable tools for COVID-19 detection from the first days of the pandemic. We continue to develop and adapt our technology to meet new challenges, including emerging variants. Our PCR kits are designed to detect the virus, regardless of its specific variant, ensuring accurate and reliable results.