What makes some COVID-19 variants more contagious than others?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is evolving, with new and more infectious variants taking hold.

That has now been extended for at least another seven days in Melbourne.

But what makes this outbreak different from others is the spread of a “highly infectious” variant that was first detected in India in October last year.

There are currently four coronavirus variants of global concern that have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO), each first detected in India, Brazil, South Africa and the UK.

Authorities in Vietnam have also identified a “dangerous” new hybrid variant that is a mix of the types first detected in the UK and India.

But how do these variants occur and what makes some more contagious than others?

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