Here Is What Experts Have To Say About The New Coronavirus Strain
A panel of experts said that while the new COVID B.1.1.7 virus needs to be monitored closely, there is no need to panic as the current vaccine doses should work well against this modified variant too
Amidst fears of the new Coronavirus strains, several Indian states are putting strict measures in place to control the contagion. After Maharashtra, Karnataka imposed a night curfew yesterday that will last till 2 January 2021 in a bid to curb large-scale festivities during Christmas and New Year. Chennai has banned all beach parties, while Kerala will screen every single passenger arriving from the United Kingdom and all European countries.
In Maharashtra, the Uddhav Thackeray government issued an advisory allowing only 50 people to assemble at a time in a church, with the singing choir only comprising 10 members. Senior citizens above 60 years and children below 10 years will have to be homebound and party enthusiasts have been asked to celebrate the year end at home.
Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Public Health and Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) spoke to a channel exclusively about the B.1.1.7, the freshly mutated version of COVID. According to Jha, though it is important to closely monitor the development, the latest variant does not seem any deadlier than its earlier type. He further said the currently available data suggests that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will work well against the virus. The Dean also said that he would be surprised if the second variant is localised to the UK, citing that it was first detected back in September and may have travelled to many countries including India by now.
Dr. Swaminathan gave an example of influenza vaccines that are changed every year, while measles vaccines generally remain static. She said that the latest Coronavirus variant is somewhere in between which means that the currently developed immunisation should work well. On what the future holds with this modified version, the WHO senior personnel said that real time data from sequencing over the next few weeks will help experts understand the properties of the new variant. Revealing that India is already a big contributor to the global database of the genome sequencing, she asserted that collaboration of different countries is the need of the hour to understand the geographical spread. Finally, Swaminathan said that now and during the vaccination drive in the future, nations will have to adopt strict public health measures and guidelines to put a stop to Coronavirus.
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