A recent study led by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found on Sunday that Alpha and Beta Covid variants are associated with the higher transmission showed no evidence of higher viral loads in their upper respiratory tracts as compared to the control group in patients.
The lead author of the study Adannaya Amadi said that “The reason why these variants show higher transmissibility is not yet clear.”
The researchers investigated alpha (B117), the variant first identified in the UK, and Beta (B1351) that was first identified in South Africa, to evaluate if patients showed higher viral loads, and consequently increased shedding and transmissibility. The evolving variants of SARS-CoV-2 which causes coronavirus have been a matter of concern.
“However, our findings did show that the patients infected with these variants are less likely to be asymptomatic compared to the control group. Although those infected with the variants were not at higher risk for death or intensive care admission, they were more likely to be hospitalised,” Amadi added. At the World Microbe Forum, this research will be presented, which will be taking place online from June 20 to 24.
Variants were identified using whole-genome sequencing.
A large unit of samples was used by the researchers to show that the UK variant constituted 75 percent of the circulating viruses by April 2021.
Additional testing to determine the viral load of all samples underwent an investigation. The information was associated with the stage of the disease by looking at the days after the start of symptoms which added clarity in comparing viral shedding between groups.
The researchers compared 134 variant samples to 126 control samples and with access to the patients’ clinical information, were able to correlate the genomics data with the clinical disease and outcomes.