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Hyderabad: CCMB scientist nixes talk of Singapore strain

Director of CCMB, Dr Rakesh Mishra
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Director of CCMB, Dr Rakesh Mishra

Highlights

"There is nothing called Singapore strain. What we are seeing in Singapore is 6.7 and 6.72 variant and the same variant is found in India also.

Hyderabad: "There is nothing called Singapore strain. What we are seeing in Singapore is 6.7 and 6.72 variant and the same variant is found in India also. To protect ourselves from any variant or strain, we should follow the same method that we are following from the beginning of the pandemic. No new variant has emerged or would come up in future and the solution to stay safe is to wear mask and wear it properly. All people should get vaccinated to defeat any wave," says Dr Rakesh Mishra, former Director of CCMB, in an exclusive interview to The Hans India.

Reports say India is likely to be affected by Singapore strain of Covid during 3rd wave. What exactly is it?

There is nothing called Singapore strain. What we are seeing in Singapore that is 6.7 and 6.72 variant and the same variant is now found in India. Any new variant is only minor component of any wave.

Does it impact children more?

There are observations that let it be in India or in Singapore people have been saying that this wave had impacted younger children more. There is no conclusive data to conclude that way. I think it is not so much about the variant; it is human behaviour that is responsible for the spread of the virus rapidly among small children, as for example during the first wave schools were closed for a year. Schools got reopened and it was witnessed that many children did not wear mask or may be school staff were infected and thus many children got infected. There is no evidence that this year the Covid variant is affecting children or senior citizens more. In the first wave, people had taken enough care but now the people are not following Covid norms strictly. I think the virus that is affecting the children is the contribution of human behaviour.

Singapore Education Minister Chan Chun said "mutations are much more virulent, and they seem to attack younger children." Is it true? Do we have any studies on it?

It does not mean that any variant is responsible to attack younger children. It is seen that children are less disciplined like not wearing masks, not following Covid protocols. There is no direct link. It is also likely to be because of behaviour that the children are more interactive, and virus comes in contact with them. This might be the reason, in this wave, more children are getting affected. There is no specific studies but researchers are trying to find out genetic dependencies of new infections every time. Once we collect enough data, then we can come to the conclusion that this variant isaffecting younger children or not.

What are the symptoms of this strain? Do we have necessary medicines and expertise to meet the new challenge?

Symptoms of the present variant are same and all variants are similar in nature. At the movement, we can say the onset has not changed much, the motility has not changed. There is no real medicine for any variant. We are doing treatment on some symptoms. Some treatments that are given to Covid patients are plasma therapy, Remdesivir, and a few more. These all have very limited effect and yet there is no specific medicine for treating any variant of Covid.

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