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'All COVID-19 Variants Should Be Tagged China': Netizens On Geo-tags On Virus Strains

Hundreds of internet users have opined on an online poll over geo-tags on variants of the novel coronavirus and said that all strains should have 'China'.


Image credits: Pixabay/Twitter

Hundreds of netizens have opined on an online poll over geo-tags on variants of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 and said that all strains should have ‘China’ in their name as opposed to other nations where the variants were first discovered. Geotags or Geotagging is basically the process of adding geographical identification to data most commonly used in social media, geotags are often used to specify the metadata and adding location to the information.

Author Shankkar Aiyar on April 20 opened a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ poll on Twitter questioning the followers about the criteria of naming the coronavirus variants that researchers have deemed even more infectious than the original strain that was first discovered in China in late 2019. While the novel coronavirus is called SARS-CoV-2, others have the name of the country it first originated in. For instance, B.1.617 is called Indian Variant, B.1.1.7 is UK Variant, B.1.351 is South African, P 1 is the Brazilian Variant. 

As Aiyar questioned that shouldn’t the original SARS-CoV-2 carry a geotag as well, netizens across the globe agreed and said ‘all variants should have China’. Several others suggested that the novel coronavirus should be called ‘China Main’ followed by ‘China V1’ or V2 and so on. Many were seen mentioning former US President Donald Trump who openly blamed China for not handling COVID-19 properly and leading to a deadly pandemic. One of the Twitter users also said that it was ‘appalling’ how the naming was done of the variants that emerged months after the outbreak began in China’s Wuhan.

All about coronavirus variants

As per United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are currently four ‘variants of concerns’ or VOCs in the world and in America. These include B.1.1.7 - It was initially detected in the UK, B.1.351 - initially detected in South Africa in December 2020, P.1 - initially identified in travellers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan, in early January along with  B.1.427 and B.1.429. The last two variants were first identified in California in February 2021 and were classified as VOCs in March 2021.

The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 carries two mutations, E484Q and L452R. Both these mutations are separately found in many other coronavirus variants, however, these have been reported together for the first time in India. The two mutations are found in the virus’s spike protein.  This helps the virus to bind itself to the human cell’s receptors and gain entry into a host cell. several vaccine developers have also touted the efficacy of their vaccine against various strains of coronavirus and suggested modifications in the roll-out subsequently.

Image credits: Pixabay/Twitter

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