The SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for COVID-19, has evolved into various strains over time. It can mutate, leading to the emergence of new strains. These mutations vary in terms of how easily they spread, how severe the illness they cause is, and how well they can evade the immune response triggered by vaccination or previous infection. Here are the most prominent strains that have been circulating up until now.
Original COVID Strain
The strain of the virus that emerged in Wuhan, China and caused the global pandemic is commonly referred to as the "wild type," representing the original form of the virus.
Delta variety (B.1.617.2)
Dr. Kuldeep Kumar Grover, the Head of Critical Care and Pulmonology at CK Birla Hospital in Gurugram, highlights that the Delta variant, initially discovered in India, swiftly gained global recognition. This variant has been associated with increased transmissibility and concerns regarding breakthrough infections following vaccination.
Delta Plus Variant (AY.1)
In specific parts of India, reports have emerged regarding the Delta Plus variant (AY.1), a sublineage of the Delta variant. The spike protein of this variant has undergone additional mutations, raising concerns about increased transmissibility and potential evasion of immunity.
Omicron Variant (B.1.1.529)
The Omicron variant, first found in South Africa, sparked global concern. Despite not being initially detected in India, there were concerns about its potential introduction through international travel. However, by January 2022, it was identified in several Indian states, leading to heightened surveillance and containment efforts.
Kappa Variant (B.1.617.1
The Kappa variant, discovered in India, is a sublineage of the Delta strain with some shared genetic traits but also some differences.
The newest subtype of Omicron, ERIS (EG.5.1), was discovered in India in May 2023. It gained attention as a variety of interest.