COVID-19 Beta Variant (B.1.351)

What is the Beta Variant of SARS-CoV-2?

The COVID-19 Beta variant (B.1.351) is a highly contagious and dangerous strain of the coronavirus that was first detected in South Africa in October 2020 and has since spread to more than 60 countries around the world. It was one of the first variants of SARS-CoV-2 to be designated as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Beta variant is no longer the dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 circulating worldwide, but it is still important to be aware of it. If you are travelling to a country where the Beta variant is present, it is important to take precautions to protect yourself from infection, such as getting vaccinated, wearing a mask in public indoor settings, and maintaining social distancing.

The Beta variant has several mutations in its spike protein, which is the part of the virus that attaches to human cells and allows it to enter and infect them. These mutations make the Beta variant more infectious and able to evade some immune responses. One of the key mutations is called E484K, which appears to help the virus partially escape from antibodies – the proteins that our immune system produces to fight off infections. This means that people who have recovered from COVID-19 or have been vaccinated may have lower levels of protection against the Beta variant than against the original virus.


COVID-19 Beta Variant (B.1.351) FAQs

Is the Beta variant more dangerous than other variants?

There is evidence to suggest that the Beta variant may be more likely than other variants to lead to hospitalization and death. However, more research is needed to confirm this.

Is the Beta variant more transmissible than other variants?

Yes, the Beta variant is more transmissible than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, and it may also be more likely to cause severe illness, hospitalization, and death. It is estimated to be 50% more transmissible than the original Wuhan strain.

How does the Beta variant affect the severity of COVID-19?

The Beta variant has been linked to higher viral loads, which means that people infected with this strain may have more virus particles in their bodies and may be more likely to spread it to others. The Beta variant may also cause more severe disease, especially in younger people who have not been vaccinated or have underlying health conditions

What are the symptoms of the Beta variant?

The symptoms of the Beta variant are similar to the symptoms of other variants of SARS-CoV-2, and include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of taste or smell
How can I protect myself from the Beta variant?
The best way to protect yourself and others from the Beta variant is to get vaccinated as soon as possible and stay up to date with your booster shots if you are eligible. You should also continue to follow public health measures, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds, washing your hands frequently, and getting tested if you have symptoms or exposure to someone with COVID-19.
What should I do if I think I have the Beta variant?

If you think you may have the Beta variant, you should get tested for COVID-19. If you test positive, you should isolate yourself from others to prevent the spread of the virus. You should also contact your doctor to discuss your treatment options.

Is there a cure for the Beta variant?

There is no cure for the Beta variant, but there are treatments that can help to relieve symptoms and prevent serious illness. These treatments include over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and prescription medications, such as antiviral drugs and corticosteroids.

How effective are the vaccines against the Beta variant?

The vaccines that are currently available can still provide some protection against the Beta variant, but their efficacy may be reduced compared to the original virus or other variants.

Clinical trials and real-world studies have shown that some vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, have maintained high levels of efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 caused by the Beta variant, although they may not prevent infection or transmission as well as against other strains .

Other vaccines, such as Oxford-AstraZeneca and Novavax, have shown lower levels of efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 caused by the Beta variant, but they may still prevent severe disease and death .

What should I do if I have been vaccinated and I am exposed to the Delta variant?

If you have been vaccinated and you are exposed to the Beta variant, you should monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop any symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 and isolate yourself from others.

Is the Beta variant still circulating?

Yes, the Beta variant is still circulating, but it is not as common as it once was. The Delta variant is currently the dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide.

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