Hyderabad: While countries around the world are aiming to adopt vaccines to control the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK has now reported a new strain of SARS-CoV-2, which is apparently causing a rapid rise in infections in the south-eastern part of England.
The British researchers named the new strain as “VUI-202012/01”, which includes a genetic mutation on the stinging protein, which reportedly could be the reason why the infection spreads easily among the community. As a result of the ability of the new strain to spread and infect more quickly, British authorities had to impose fresh blockades locally.
The new strain may challenge the vaccines developed by pharma industry including Pfizer, Moderna, etc., public health specialists who are familiar with vaccine development. It is unclear at this time whether the already developed vaccines will continue to be effective for the new coronavirus strain. However, scientists point out that in order to be able to come up with the right answers, further studies are needed quickly.
Unlike seasonal flu, which usually has a lot of strains, so far there have not been many reports of new strains of SARS-CoV-2. Due to a lack of mutations, the scientific community around the world has been able to devise an effective vaccine candidate against Covid-19 within one year.
However, the new announcement by a senior UK health official about a new strain has caused consternation among public health experts, who have been dealing with the course of the pandemic and the coronavirus since March.
A public health researcher in the United States, Dr. Eric Topol, an authority on Covid-19, took to Twitter and took a look at the development. “This will require a rigorous assessment before it can be confirmed. It could certainly be a new variant but probably not functionally significant. It is suspected that it will be refuted or seriously questioned. Scientists have also claimed that very unlikely the mutation would be significant.”
For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also acknowledged the presence of a new variant of Covid-19 in the UK. WHO Executive Director of Health Crises Mike Ryan, while interacting with press, said “We are aware of this genetic variant reported in 1,000 individuals in England. Authorities are looking at its significance. We have seen many variants and this virus is evolving and changing. over time ”.
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