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Articles on COVID-19 variants

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gives a thumbs up signal after receiving his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at a pharmacy in Ottawa on Jan. 4, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada isn’t responding with foresight when it comes to COVID-19

Canada’s strategy must include global engagement. Without it, we will be living on borrowed time, waiting for a new variant, a new booster, a new quick fix.
The best way to stop new variants from arising is to increase the proportion of vaccinated individuals while maintaining infection prevention measures like wearing masks and social distancing. (Shutterstock)

Omicron: Vaccines remain the best defence against this COVID-19 variant and others

Even with a variant like Omicron that may be more transmissible than earlier variants, vaccines remain the most effective tool for protection against COVID-19 and for ending the pandemic.
A positive COVID-19 test is the first step in the process. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

From delta to omicron, here’s how scientists know which coronavirus variants are circulating in the US

A nationwide genomic surveillance system analyzes positive COVID-19 tests to build a picture of which variants are spreading in the population.
Sequencing the genome of a virus gives researchers information on how mutations can affect its transmissibility and virulence. catalinr/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Genomic sequencing: Here’s how researchers identify omicron and other COVID-19 variants

DNA sequencing has allowed researchers to catch new COVID-19 variants hours after receiving the first positive test sample.
While people in the wealthy West have had preferred access to multiple rounds of vaccines, vast numbers of people, especially in Africa and on the Indian subcontinent, haven’t received a single dose. (Pixabay/Canva)

COVID-19 vaccine inequity allowed Omicron to emerge

In places with low vaccination rates, COVID-19 has the chance to linger, and variants develop and travel. Without global vaccine equity, this entirely predictable pattern will repeat itself.
Some vaccines use mRNA to make copies of the triangular red spike proteins to induce immunity. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

How can scientists update coronavirus vaccines for omicron? A microbiologist answers 5 questions about how Moderna and Pfizer could rapidly adjust mRNA vaccines

The new omicron variant of coronavirus has a number of mutations that may require manufacturers to update vaccines. The unique attributes of mRNA vaccines make updating them fast and easy.
The omicron variant possesses numerous mutations in the spike protein, the knob-like protrusions (in red) that allow the virus to invade other cells. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Will omicron – the new coronavirus variant of concern – be more contagious than delta? A virus evolution expert explains what researchers know and what they don’t

It’s too early to say whether the newly identified omicron variant is going to overtake delta. But particular mutations in the new strain have researchers deeply concerned.
Scientists find variants by sequencing samples from people that have tested positive for the virus. Lightspring/Shutterstock

The hunt for coronavirus variants: how the new one was found and what we know so far

There’s a new COVID lineage called B.1.1.529. It has a genetic profile very different from other circulating variants
High-touch surfaces in grocery stores were tested as a potential transmission point for SARS-CoV-2. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov 

Testing high-touch surfaces in grocery stores for COVID-19

The risk of COVID-19 exposure from high-touch surfaces within grocery stores is low if physical distancing guidelines and recommended cleaning protocols are followed.
The huge number of active coronavirus infections offers plenty of opportunity for mutations to occur and new variants to arise. Eoneren/E+ via Getty Images

Massive numbers of new COVID–19 infections, not vaccines, are the main driver of new coronavirus variants

When the coronavirus copies itself, there is a chance its RNA will mutate. But new variants must jump from one host to another, and the more infections there are, the better chance this will happen.

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