As we are entering new year 2021 a new covid strain SARS-COV-2 that appeared in the UK is spreading around the globe. Many countries are taking steps to stop the spread of rapidly spreading SARS-COV-2. Apart from canceling flights to the UK, South Africa & telling travelers to go through a must Covid RT-PCR test, new lockdown restrictions, as well as the isolation precautions, are implemented in many parts of the world.
We don’t have clear answers to many questions about the new strain of the pandemic virus.
What do we know so far?
•The new strain can spread very fast & easily.
•It has a new series of mutations which means it can change structures hence potentially can spread rapidly.
•It could be 70% more transmissible than the Covid-19.
•It is highly contagious.
According to Dr. Rahul Pandit, Director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai, and member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 like all viruses, coronavirus too is a shapeshifter. “Some genetic changes are inconsequential. “Researchers have recorded thousands of tiny modifications in the genetic material of the coronavirus, as it has hopscotched across the world. The British variant has affected how the virus locks onto human cells and infects them. These mutations may allow the variant to replicate and transmit more efficiently,” he says.
There are several important questions that are yet to be answered. Do the precautions that we are taking to stop the pandemic are enough? Will the new vaccines are also sufficient enough to stop the spread of new variants of covid? According to CDC:
What we do not know
· Scientists are working to learn more about these variants, and more studies are needed to understand:
· How widely these new variants have spread
· How the new variants differ
· How the disease caused by these new variants differs from the disease caused by other variants that are currently circulating.
What it means Public health officials are studying these variants quickly to learn more so that they can control their spread. They want to understand whether the variants:
· Spread more easily from person to person.
· Cause milder or more severe disease in people
· Are detected by currently available viral tests
· Respond to medicines currently being used to treat people for COVID-19
Change the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. There is no evidence that this is occurring, and most experts believe this is unlikely to occur because of the nature of the immune response to the virus.
WHO, CDC in collaboration with other health organizations are monitoring & working to find out are there any new symptoms one could be having apart from existing symptoms and the impact of new strain on the productions of vaccines.
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Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: December 31, 2020