Q. “Variants of Concern and Variants of interest” is often seen in news is associated with which of the following?

[A] Invasive species

[B] Space objects

[C] Micro plastics

[D] COVID-19

Answer: D

What began as a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, has assumed global proportions and claimed countless lives within a span of two years. 

  • At the outset, the virus spread through droplets of saliva, cough particles or nasal discharge from an infected person.  
  • Within the passage of a year, December 2020 saw the emergence of changing COVID-19 variants. These changes in variations allow the virus to be more contagious than before. 
  • The changes in the variants occur when there is a mutation of the genes of the virus. However, these mutations are only natural.  
  • M.D Robert Bollinger told the Johns Hopkins University’s Medical Organisation, that “All RNA viruses mutate over time. For example, flu viruses change often…”  
  • MD Stuart Ray told the Hopkins Medical Organisation that “Geographic separation tends to result in genetically distant variants.”  
  • In light of such developments, the new mutations are bound to be several and distinct from one another. (New Variants of Coronavirus: What You Should Know | Johns Hopkins Medicine) 
  • The World Health Organisation has classified each emerging variant as either a Variant of Concern (VOC) or a Variant of Interest (VOI).  
  • The Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants fall under Variants of Concern.  
  • Whereas the Eta, Iota, Kappa and Lambda fall under Variants of Interest. 

Source: The Hindu