A virus's only goal is to make copies of itself, and it hijacks and uses our body's cells to make these copies. If you've ever used a photocopier you'll know that sometimes the quality of the copies isn't quite right and in the case of the virus there are sometimes errors in the copied genetic material. Each of these errors makes a variation in the virus, and we call these mistakes mutations. So virus variants are the mutated versions of the original virus. While these mutations often make the virus weaker, the mutations sometimes do give the variants an advantage over our immune system - sometimes the variant can transmit faster or sometimes it's immune to certain medications.
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