U.S. government classifies threat levels of SARS-CoV-2 variants

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The number of SARS-CoV-2 variants with enhanced transmissibility and resistance to antibodies is increasing, prompting the U.S. government to issue guidance on how to classify them.

The criteria divide variants into three categories including the following:

Variant of interest: This virus type has genetic markers that have been linked to a potentially increased risk. Examples include mutations that could change how the virus enters cells and responds to antibodies from vaccination or infection. Such a virus could also potentially enhance transmissibility or disease severity. Variant of concern: This class includes variants with evidence of increased transmissibility, severe disease or reduction in neutralization by antibodies from infection or vaccination. Such a variant may also pose a higher risk of eluding testing. See the table below for examples. Variant of high conseque…
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