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2022 update on the COVID-19 variants

by Julio Santos January 12, 2022

Although it's not a popularity contest when it comes to COVID-19, several variants have received more attention than others. Of course, we're all familiar with Delta and Omicron, but there are other variants that have impacted the globe. For the sake of information and interest, here's an update on the different COVID variants our world has experienced so far. 

Variants of concern

covid 19 vector

So far, there have been five total strains that are (or were) considered variants of concern (VOC). These mutations are viewed as VOCs due to their transmissibility and increased infection rates. 

Beta

Scientists first detected Beta's presence in South Africa in May of 2020. However, it took a while to reach Canada. The first Canadian case was seen in Alberta on January 8, 2021. Unfortunately, not many (if any) studies were performed on this particular VOC.

Alpha

The Alpha strain first emerged in September of 2020 in the UK. However, it was first detected in Canada on December 26 of 2020, in Ontario. Although this strain produced less severe symptoms, it did increase the death rate by over 60% in those infected.

Delta

Shortly following Alpha, Delta appeared in India in October of 2020. On April 21, 2021, Canada had 39 confirmed cases in BC. Delta brought more extended periods of infection, seemed to affect younger folks more, and saw double the hospitalizations of the Alpha strain.

Gamma

Brazil first saw the appearance of the Gamma variant in November of 2020. Canada's first case was on January 17, 2021, in a re-infected woman. On April 6 that same year, BC reached the second-highest infection rate globally, only second to Brazil.

Omicron

globe map

After almost a year with no new VOCs, Omicron emerged in November of 2021, and the location of its origin is still under debate. Then, on December 19, 2021, the Northwest Territories saw their first case. Although this variant has less health impact, it spreads quickly and is easily transmissible. 

Variants of interest and under monitoring

So far, there have been two variants of interest. They have been more localized and haven't had as much impact. Three variants under monitoring had little effect, yet they are being watched to see if their spread increases.

Lambda

In December of 2020, Peru saw the emergence of the Lambda variant, which seemed to be quickly neutralized with the vaccine.

Mu

Mu's presence was detected in Colombia in January of 2021 and eventually reached 39 countries with little impact.

COVID variants in 2022

masked up emojis

Three COVID-19 mutations are being watched. All emerged in 2021 — January, May, and September — and thankfully haven't had much of a reach so far. 

No matter what COVID-19 strain you may have, it's essential to be aware. Our MyZone Test Kits can detect all variants and keep you in the know about whether or not you have been infected with COVID.
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