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Emerging vaccines good enough against new Covid-19 strain: Doctors

Dr Neha Mishra,Dr Suchismitha Rajamanya (Internal Medicine),Dr Srivastava Lokeshwaran
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(Dr Neha Mishra,Dr Suchismitha Rajamanya (Internal Medicine),Dr Srivastava Lokeshwaran)

Highlights

Even as the Central and State governments have not indicated any intention to go back to ground zero in its fight against coronavirus after a new Covid-19 strain was reported in the UK and South Africa, doctors are of the view that the vaccine will continue to offer protection even against the new strain.

Bengaluru: Even as the Central and State governments have not indicated any intention to go back to ground zero in its fight against coronavirus after a new Covid-19 strain was reported in the UK and South Africa, doctors are of the view that the vaccine will continue to offer protection even against the new strain.

Dr.Neha Mishra, Consultant , Infectious Diseases, Manipal Hospitals, Old Airport Road said that the preventive measures continue to hold good as the mode of virus transmission remains the same.

"Mutation is well known to occur among viruses. Although more relevant literature is yet to come, from what we know the new strain (VUI 202012/01) is about 70% more infectious. However it needs to be understood that it's not noted to be more deadly," she observed.

Giving an insight about the new virus strain Dr Suchismitha Rajamanya, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Manipal Hospitals, Whitefield said, "Referred to as the SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, this virus strain was identified through genomic sequencing and was suspected when there was a surge in cases in South East UK. Epidemiological data suggests that these two variants may be associated with increased transmissibility."

"It is not known whether they may also result in increased pathogenicity, immune escape from current Covid-19 vaccines or lack of detection by established diagnostic methods. Though mutations are a common occurrence in viruses, the pathological nature of the strain is being researched with tight contact tracing and genomic studies. It's difficult to comment on the efficacy of the emerging vaccines at this early stage against the new strain, but past studies have indicated that the antibody response mounted by our body by a vaccine could be sufficient enough to cover most of the virus variants," she stated.

In order to avert the situation from going back to the initial days of mayhem in continuing the coronavirus, Rajamanya suggested that no matter the strain or mutations in a virus, the most effective way of protection against the infection is by ensuring social distancing, wearing a mask and hand washing .

Dr. Srivatsa Lokeshwaran, Consultant, Interventional Pulmonology, Aster CMI Hospital, said that the virus is 70 percent more infectious but whether it leads to more morbidity and mortality is yet to be understood.

He remarked that if the UK is able to contain the virus locally by travel ban and other social distancing measures it would help to put out the flame early.

"The RNA virus has always had the tendency to mutate fast and hence, there are several challenges which are being faced in tackling this virus. Meanwhile continued vaccination is the only promising strategy we have against the SARS COV2 infection," he said.

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