Hyderabad: As countries around the world are moving towards vaccine adoption to control the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK has now reported a new strain of SARS-CoV-2, which is apparently causing a rapid increase in infections. in the southeastern part of England.
British researchers have named the new strain “VUI-202012/01” which includes a genetic mutation on the spike protein, which reports say may be why the infection is spreading easily among the community. As a result of the new strain’s ability to spread and become infected faster, the British authorities have had to impose new blocks locally.
The new strain has the potential to challenge vaccines developed by the pharmaceutical industry including Pfizer, Moderna, etc., public health specialists familiar with vaccine development said. At present, it is unclear whether already developed vaccines will continue to remain effective for the new coronavirus strain. However, the scientists point out that in order to be able to provide the right answers, more studies need to be undertaken quickly.
Unlike seasonal influenza, which usually has many strains, there have not been many reports of new SARS-CoV-2 strains so far. Due to the lack of mutations, the scientific community around the world has been able to present an effective vaccine candidate for Covid-19 within a year.
However, the new announcement by a senior UK health official about a new strain caused consternation among public health experts, who have been following the course of the pandemic and coronavirus since March.
US-based public health researcher Dr. Eric Topol, an authority on Covid-19, took to Twitter and voiced a warning toward development. “This will require rigorous evaluation before it can be confirmed. Sure it could be a new variant, but it’s unlikely to be functionally significant. I suspect it is being refuted or seriously questioned. Scientists also said that the mutation is highly unlikely to have any meaning. “
For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also recognized the presence of a new variant of Covid-19 in the UK. WHO executive director for health emergencies Mike Ryan said while interacting with reporters: “We are aware of this genetic variant reported in 1,000 individuals in England. Authorities are examining its significance. We have seen many variations and this virus evolves and changes over time ”.
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