"SARS-CoV-2 virus is, at least its base form is known as a wild type virus. That's a common term in virology and medicine. Mutations occur very commonly in viruses, and this virus is no different. Mutations occur when the code changes in one specific area of a virus, this happens very commonly and frequently leads to no significant changes at all. However, mutations can cause specific effects and mutations of multiple types can occur in viruses. And when taken together, produce a what's called a variant of a virus. There are three different variants that have been discovered and found in the United States at this time. They came from other parts of the world. They all contain a variety of mutations, some of which are common among types of variants. The names of variants are less important than their potential effects. We were about three basic things. One is what's called an increased transmissibility. A variant may contain mutations that allow it to be transmitted from person to person more efficiently than the wild type virus. Another concern is what's called increased pathogenicity. Once someone is infected, a particular variant may cause more serious illness. And then one other ability that a variant can have is to escape and that's escape from our treatments and our vaccinations and make those less effective than they are in the wild type virus. The three variants contain different combinations of these mutations that have different levels of these effects on the three major risk areas. The important thing to remember is that each of these variants is still susceptible to the common things that we do. Masking, washing hands, and social distancing. And that combination is what's going to keep each of us safe and keep all of us safe."
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