Beta coronavirus variant: What's the risk?

Because of the Beta variant, fully jabbed travelers arriving from France must be quarantined.

Beta coronavirus variant: What's the risk?

Because of the Beta variant, fully jabbed travelers arriving from France must be quarantined.

The government is concerned that jabs might not be as effective against this variant.

French authorities claim that most cases are from overseas territories like La Reunion or Mayotte and not France.

Experts are currently studying Beta, also known by B.1.351 or 501.V2. It was first discovered in South Africa.

All viruses, even the one that causes Covid-19 mutations, are constantly evolving into new variants or versions.

These genetic changes occur as the virus creates new copies of itself in order to spread and thrive.

Many are minor and can not be detrimental to the virus's survival. However, some variants of the virus can make it more dangerous or infective to the host, humans.

Beta has experienced some changes involving the virus's spike proteins - which is the part that allows the virus to enter human cells. Experts are also concerned about this particular mutation.

Beta and a few other coronavirus variants, like Alpha and Delta, have been labeled "variants of concern". These viruses have many worrying changes that experts need to be very vigilant about.

Beta is carrying a mutation called N501Y that makes it more contagious and easy to spread.

E484K is another mutation that could allow the virus to bypass a person's immune system and can affect how vaccines work.

It is not known if the South Africa variant causes more severe illness in the vast majority.

The risk of getting the virus is the same as the original version.

Vaccines are based on original Covid rather than newer variants.

Some evidence suggests that they are less effective in stopping Beta infections.

Experts say they must still do their best to prevent severe illness.

Even in the most dire of situations, vaccines can still be modified to improve their effectiveness and provide better protection.

A new version of AstraZeneca's vaccine against Beta has been tested in the UK.

Other Covid vaccines are being updated.

More than 50 countries have identified the Beta variant.

The UK has so far recorded just over 1000 cases of Beta. This is a small fraction of all Covid cases. Delta is another variant of Covid that's currently seen in the UK.

South Africa reported more Beta cases.

The government recommended surge testing of the affected areas in order to stop its spread when it was first discovered in the UK.

To reduce the risk of UK travelers spreading Beta and other forms of concern, a system of restrictions on foreign travel has been established.

Adults who have been fully jabbed in the UK no longer need quarantine upon their return from countries on the amber list will be required to self-isolate for ten more days if they are returning from France.

To ensure that they aren't infected, they will need to undergo two PCR tests.

Scientists from the UK are studying variants of Beta and providing assistance to countries in genomic sequencing so they can also do the same.

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