The United Kingdom sees a new highly contagious mutation of the coronavirus strain that has become a “super-spreader” with a 70 percent increased transmissibility rate. India so far has not found any such strain, with our caseload falling below 3 lakhs (2,92,518), the lowest it has been in 163 days.
‘This virus mutation is not affecting the severity of the disease, neither the case fatality nor the hospitalization rate,’ said NITI Aayog Member(Health) Dr. VK Paul. Further explaining, ‘Mutation means there is a change in the RNA of the virus. The change in the virus is called drift and has no significance. This behavior is seen in many viruses including this.’ Earlier scientists had also spoken to comfort the alarmed populations that all viruses mutate and it is in their nature to do so, therefore, vaccines need to be updated repeatedly too. So far 17 changes have been seen in the virus with one change – N501Y being responsible for increasing the tendency of the virus to enter the body.
The central government reacted to the situation by taking further precautions – stopping passengers to and from the UK temporarily till the 31st of December. Passengers that traveled to India from the UK are being checked and tested. If they are found to be positive their specimen is taken for cultures and genomic sequencing. As quoted by Dr. Paul ‘…the new strain of COVID-19 in the UK has no impact on the potential of the emerging vaccines being developed in our country and are available in other countries.’ Further adding ‘…there is no need to panic and there is no change in the procedure and guidelines of the treatment due to this mutation,’ stating that people need to be more vigilant.