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New COVID Strains – Here Are Some Countries Where Cases Have Been Found

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

For almost a year, the world has been struggling with a pandemic the likes of which have seldom been recorded in history. 2020 was a terrible year for almost all of us. But towards the end of the year, it seemed like the battle was about to be won. 


The coronavirus live update stated that vaccines were being given emergency approval in many countries of the world, including India. Then came another coronavirus news regarding the rise of a new COVID strain- the B117 virus or the UK virus. It also has reached India

And worryingly, many other countries, in their coronavirus updates, are reporting cases of a mutated coronavirus. Are they different from the UK virus, or almost the same? Let us look into it.

The rise of the new COVID strains

In September 2020, coronavirus news coming from Britain said that the country has recorded a new COVID strain. The B117 virus has the same protein structure as the regular coronavirus but is 70% more contagious even though it is not more dangerous. 

In the last few days, a few more countries have found evidence of a new coronavirus strain.

1. Japan

Authorities at Japan’s National Institute Of Infectious Diseases told the press that they have detected a new COVID strain in 4 travellers coming in from Brazil. According to their coronavirus updates, initial studies have confirmed that it is a different strain compared to the UK virus even though there are some similar changes in their genetic structural makeup. Studies are ongoing to determine its symptoms and whether the coronavirus vaccine will be effective against it.

2. Brazil

Brazil had witnessed one of the highest mortality rates from COVID. Way back in July 2020, some scientists realised that a new strain of COVID had mutated in Brazil. They called it the B1128 strain. In December 2020, judging by the coronavirus updates released by the authorities, it began to spread rapidly. As of now, the new COVID strain is restricted to Rio de Janeiro. There is no proof that this strain is deadlier or more infectious than the regular SARS-CoV. 

3. USA

The USA coronavirus variant is a little different from the UK strain. It is possibly a further mutation of the B117 virus and 50% more transmissible than the regular SARS-Cov. 

The reason why so many variants of COVID keep arising because The virus has not settled into a predictable pattern. It continues to evolve. Omicron is the variant of concern that remains dominant worldwide and there are still more than 600 sublineages of Omicron that are in circulation. One of the variants that is now in India as of April 2023 is XBB1.16 variant of omicron or called as arcutus strain.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

4. South Africa

Analysis of the new COVID strain from South Africa has revealed that the 501.V2 variant (that’s what South Africa’s new variant of coronavirus is being called) has undergone many mutations which means that there could be several versions of 501.V2. 

But the good news is that when scientists tested Pfizer’s vaccine against the new COVID-19 mutants, the COVID-19 vaccine was found to be effective. 

The South African variant has already reached Austria and Norway via travellers. 

5. Mexico

According to COVID-19 news from Mexico, Brazil’s new COVID strain has been found in a 56-year-old man in Mexico City. It may have spread to others he had come in contact with. Since this COVID strain has been found to be very contagious, authorities are doing everything possible to curb its spread.

6. Australia

The new coronavirus strain spreading like wildfire in Australia is actually the UK virus and has close links with the Brazil virus. In fact, it has been so contagious that Brisbane had to be locked down. 

Concerns always linger around with newer variants of covid as they are usually very unpredictable in terms of their contagiousness and mortality. We may not know how the virus might change or evolve with newer strains and if it is better at infecting people or causing higher hospitalizations.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Vaccine efficacy against the coronavirus variants

All these new COVID mutants bear a resemblance. The spike protein is not all that different from the coronavirus against which the COVID vaccine is effective. Already quite a few studies have found that the coronavirus vaccine works against the new mutations. However, further studies will be required.

Scientists themselves have many unanswered questions regarding the new COVID strains. But all of them agree that right now COVID precautions are our best line of defence. So let us follow these in our everyday lives. 


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