A new type of coronavirus identified in Brazil has exacerbated anxiety among public health experts and led to warnings of additional new strains emerging.
The type news in Brazil comes after two separate strains of the virus were discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa earlier this year.
Researchers are urgently studying Covid variants, which are suspected to share similar characteristics, to gain a better understanding of the threat they pose.
Viruses mutate naturally and there is no evidence that newly discovered strains have more severe disease outcomes.
However, the Covid variants are thought to be more transmissible than the original type that started the epidemic, and this could lead to greater numbers of serious infections and additional deaths. Health authorities have recommended hand washing, physical distancing, and the use of personal protective equipment as a way to prevent the spread of the virus