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Monday, April 12, 2021

Explained: New Mutant Coronavirus Variant Strain and its global exposure

The new COVID-19 strain has been announced. Just as the world was set to welcome a New Year, the information of a new strain across UK has spread panic across the world and every single person is now worried. The new mutant coronavirus variant strain has worried the experts as well as the government authorities, even though a vaccine is in development and distribution drives are being conducted, it has led to the imposition of new regulations and restriction in many countries.

Now this new mutant coronavirus variant strain is said to be 70% more contagious than the existing one, as this COVID variant of the SARS-COV-2 virus was termed as VUI-202012/01. The infection is spreading rapidly in London and several other parts of UK, forcing authorities to impose a complete lockdown with more serious restrictions.

How many new cases due to the new variant?

Around mid-December, the first confirmed cases of the new strain of the new variant were identified this year, post to which the authorities announced that it was “out of control.” The experts believe that this new mutant coronavirus variant had been around in the region since September, but wasn’t identified as there were no large-scale infections. 60% patients have now been affected by this new variant.

Further, some countries that reported cases of the new mutant coronavirus variant strain are, heavily concentrated in UK at present, resulting in several countries to suspend arrival of citizens temporarily. South Africa, Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, and Italy are some of the countries where a number of cases has been reported, while France recently suspected that the new mutant coronavirus variant might have entered the Western European country as well.

Is this new strain something to worry about?

According to the experts from US and UK this new mutant coronavirus variant strain seems to infect more easily than the existing one, only there isn’t any solid evidence that it can be more deadly. This strain is also a concerning one because it contains nearly two dozen mutations, some being on the spiky protein that the virus uses in order to attach and infect the cells.

Chief scientific adviser of the British Government, Patrick Vallance stated that this new mutant coronavirus variant strain moves at a rapid pace and is becoming a more dominant variant. Dr. Ravi Gupta who studies viruses at the University of Cambridge in England said: “I’m worried about this, for sure, but it is too soon to know how important it ultimately prove to be.” A professor of experimental medicine at the Imperial College London, Peter Openshaw stated that “it is right to take it seriously.”

The present vaccines being deployed in the UK developed by Pfizer and BioNtech or other COVID-19 shots in development has zero evidence that it will protect patients against this new mutant coronavirus variant. Adam Finn, a vaccine specialist and professor of paediatrics at Bristol University stated: “It’s unlikely that this will have anything more than a minor, if any, effect on the vaccine’s effectiveness.”

The new mutant coronavirus variant strain has not been seen in the samples tested from various parts of India. While speaking to ANI, director of ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute (NARI), Dr. Samiran Panda said: “We have tested samples collected from the various parts of the country and haven’t seen the mutant strain found in the UK. We shouldn’t think that this will definitely come to India.”

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