Virus Mutation No Cause for Alarm: AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria
Dr Guleria added that the next 6-8 weeks will be crucial in India’s battle against the virus as fatalities decline.
AIIMS director and member of the national task force on COVID management Dr Randeep Guleria, said on Friday, 25 December, that the coronavirus had undergone an average of two mutations per month, and that new strains should not warrant unnecessary concern, The Times of India reported.
“The mutations have not led to any change in symptoms and treatment strategy. According to current data, the vaccines in the trial phase (which are up for emergency authorisation) should also be effective against the new (UK) strain,” he told TOI.
Dr Guleria added a cautionary note that the next six to eight weeks were crucial in India’s battle against the virus as cases and fatalities have been declining.
Guleria said the UK strain was red-flagged solely because the mutated virus was more infectious. “It, however, does not require extended hospitalisation. Neither does it cause more deaths. There have been many mutations during the last 10 months and it is quite common,” he said, while ruling out the impact of the mutations on the vaccines, according to the report.
“If required, manufacturers can tweak vaccines to make them more effective against major changes in the virus. Currently, there doesn’t seem to be a major change in the virus. So, I don’t really think we need to look at a major change in the vaccine,” Guleria said.
On continuing international flight services, especially to the UK, Guleria said if these were resumed, the authorities should ensure gene sequencing of at least 10 percent of the flyers.
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