What Is The Difference Between A Strain And A Mutation

What Is the Difference Between a Strain and A Mutation

The best form of prevention is knowledge. It is impossible to take care of what is unknown. For this reason, with the arrival of the Coronavirus, the best thing you can do is keep up to date with updated information to know how to act in the face of this latent threat. Of course, it’s not about obsessing over what’s going on in the world. Rather, it should be balanced at this point, because worrying too much could greatly harm the person’s mental and emotional well-being, which has already been affected by the confinement measures.

What Is The Difference Between A Strain And A Mutation

However, as time goes by, a large number of terms that were previously unknown to the common and that are very important have been integrated into everyday vocabulary. For example, pandemic, outbreak, biosecurity, state of alarm, epidemic, among many others. More recently, in international news, new terms have been heard that are integrated into this glossary that revolves around Covid-19 and its influence. Some of them are strain and mutation. This is because variants of the disease have been presented, which are much more aggressive and can endanger the life of the affected person. Do you have trouble understanding medical terminology? Would you like to know what a strain is and what a mutation is, as well as what is the difference between the two? If the answer is yes, you cannot stop reading this article. Through this brief article you will be able to find out what the meaning of each of these terms is. Having this information will not only help you to be better informed on the subject and spread true information, but it will also allow you to take preventive measures to avoid possible contagion and, in turn, the consequences that this could bring.


Before knowing what a strain and a mutation are, it is important that you know what a virus is, since both terms are closely related to the latter. When we talk about a virus, we refer to a very small group of genetic code, which is surrounded by a protein coat. They outnumber bacteria by at least 10 to 1 and are found throughout the world. Since antibiotics are not useful to eliminate them, it is necessary to use vaccines or antivirals to reduce or eliminate the severity of the diseases they cause. Viruses can be classified into several orders of families, taking into account the type of nucleic acid that makes it up, as well as the presence of the protein envelope. Regarding their structure, it can be said that they are covered by a protective layer called capsid, which is responsible for protecting the genome of the virus and participates in the recognition of receptors, which means that the virus can reach the susceptible cells of the virus. Guest. In order to reproduce, viruses usually infect living cells, regardless of their origin, from plants, bacteria or animals. They also use their components to be able to make replicas of them. In order to enter cells, they must have the ability to penetrate the cell membrane. Task they carry out by means of proteins that adhere to those of a specific cell type, which allow them to invade the host cell and seriously damage them. Now that you know what a virus is and how it works, the next thing you need to know is the difference between a strain and a mutation.

What do you need

To be able to differentiate between a strain and a mutation, you need to be aware of what each thing is. For example, in the case of a strain, it is a virus belonging to the same species, but with differences in its biological, serological and molecular characteristics. In other words, a strain is nothing more than a new type or species, in this case, of coronavirus, such is the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is one of the best-known types of coronaviruses today. Some of them are much more aggressive and have been developed in different parts of the world. Hence, there is the British strain or B.1.1.7, which is related to a greater capacity for virulence and transmission, characteristics that can make it lethal for people of different ages. There is also the South African strain or B.1.321 which, although considered to be of moderate risk, is capable of minimizing the effectiveness of the vaccine. Lastly, we can mention the Brazilian strain or P.1 whose impact could be high if the incidence increases considerably. Taking this fact into account, we can affirm that there is another way in which the term strain is usually used. It is treated when a particular variant of the virus becomes dominant in a population. Although this double use of the term may seem confusing, it must be clear that the words “Variant” and “Cepa” do not refer to the same thing. In relation to mutations, these can be grouped into variants, lineages or branches, and occur when a genetic sequence is made based on samples that have been taken in different parts of the world. In simpler words, we can say that a mutation is the changes that viruses undergo in their genetic composition and that occur as the virus passes from one person to another. Most mutations that occur in genes do not change the viral protein that has been encoded by it. For this reason, they are considered as silent mutations. Others affect the sequence of amino acids present in the encoded viral protein, but most of them have no functional consequences in the virus. However, other mutations change the ability of the affected host to recognize and suppress the virus. In fact, if these mutations do not alter the function of the viral protein, they do affect its immunogenicity, which can affect virulence and transmissibility. In conclusion, we can say that a strain is a type of virus, which arises due to a mutation or change in its genetic makeup. But how to protect yourself from a virus? Pay attention to the following tips.


Among the recommendations that the World Health Organization has given to protect yourself and others, are the following:

Wearing a mask, which includes everyone over two years of age, while in public. The mask should cover the nose and mouth and be below the chin. Keep a distance of 6 feet or two meters from people who do not live with you under the same roof. Get vaccinated with licensed vaccines. Avoid spaces where there are crowds of people or that do not have a good ventilation system. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. You should wash your hands, especially after you have been in a public place, after coughing or sneezing, or after touching your nose. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and light switches, among other items. Monitor your health every day. This involves keeping an eye out for symptoms you experience, such as a cough, fever, or shortness of breath. Finally, if you observe manifestations or symptoms of the virus, the best thing you can do is notify your doctor so that he can give you knew instructions for your care, depending on the discomfort you present and their intensity.

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