The COVID-19 vaccine would be equally effective against new mutant version of corona which has set off alarm button world over, Shekhar Mande, Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research said recently.
He said the transmissibility of the new strain N501Y is a “bit higher” but this does not mean it is more lethal and more people are going to die due to it. There is no reason to panic, Mande said.
“It is likely that there will be differences between certain aspects like anti-bodies but it doesn’t necessarily mean that vaccines will be ineffective. Vaccines will be equally effective despite the mutation. So there is no reason to panic,” Mande was quoted saying by a PTI report.
Mande further said, “We have not found this (particular mutation) in Indian isolates yet.” He said scientists in India and all over the world are watching this variant closely. The mutation has been independently observed in the UK, Brazil and South Africa, he said. “Scientists are looking at the mutations very closely. It is too early to draw any conclusions,” Mande said.
He said RT-PCR test would be able to diagnose new strain, but it needs to be assessed if it can be equally effective for the Rapid Antigen tests. “But there is nothing to suggest it (RAT) does not work right now,” he said.
Last week British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had made announcement regarding a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains. He said that new strain appeared to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England in recent weeks.
But he stressed “there’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” or that vaccines will be less effective against it. As a precautionary measure, several European countries — France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Italy — have banned flights from the UK. India also halted all UK flight till Dec 31.