No Need To Panic For Mutated Variant Of Coronavirus, Says NITI Aayog

New Delhi: NITI Aayog on Tuesday dispelled the fear of people about the mutated variant of coronavirus detected in the UK by clarifying that there is no need to panic.

The new strain of novel coronavirus does not increase the severity of COVID-19 disease or impact the propensity of vaccines available, a news agency quoted NITI Aayog Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul as saying.

“As per the information available from the UK where the mutated variant was detected, it does not increase the severity of the disease, deaths and rate of hospitalisation. Besides, the studies suggest that the available vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 are effective on the mutated strain as well. So there is no need to panic,” he said.

Scientists in the UK have observed 17 changes or mutations in the latest variant. One of the most significant mutations is the ‘N501Y’ mutation in the spike protein that the virus uses to bind to the human ACE2 receptor. Changes in this part of the spike protein is responsible for the virus becoming more infectious and spreading further easily between people.

The UK government has reported the variant to be 70 per cent more infectious. This variant is estimated by the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) to be more transmissible and affecting the younger population.

Meanwhile, India has banned flights from the UK to contain the spread of mutated variant till December 31. The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has also asked the states to send the samples of the passengers who tested positive on arrival from the UK to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune or any other appropriate lab for genomic sequencing study.

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