Will COVID-19 vaccines be effective against new strain of Coronavirus? Here’s what experts say

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New Delhi | December 30, 2020 11:49 AM

Covid new strain vaccine effective: Top US government’s infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that data ascertained from the UK indicates the vaccines still will block the virus.

Covid new strain vaccine effectiveCovid new strain vaccine effective: So far, in India, 20 persons have been detected to be infected by the new Covid-19 strain. (Reuters image)

Will COVID-19 vaccines be effective against a new strain of Coronavirus that was traced in the UK? The million-dollar question is doing rounds as apprehensions over the latest variant of SARS-CoV2 have forced several countries, including India, to adopt strict measures. Experts have claimed that they believe the COVID-19 vaccines, which are being rolled out, is likely to work on the variant.

So far, in India, 20 persons have been detected to be infected by the new Covid-19 strain. Apart from India, countries such as the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon, and Singapore are witnessing such cases.

Top US government’s infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that data ascertained from the UK indicates the vaccines still will block the virus. But the US also will do tests to be sure, he said. “My expectation is, this will not be a problem,” the chief science adviser for the US government Moncef Slaoui was quoted as saying by news agency Associated Press (AP).

But if a virus mutates significantly enough, one worry is that current vaccines might no longer offer as much protection. And, although that’s a possibility to watch for overtime with the coronavirus, experts say they don’t believe it will be the case with the variant in the UK, according to the AP report.

In India, Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Central Government Professor K Vijay Raghavan has assured that COVID-19 vaccines will work against the variants detected in the UK and South Africa as there is no evidence that current vaccines will fail to protect against these COVID-19 variants.

Scientists and experts in India have claimed that the new mutated variant called VUI-202012/01 is not clinically more severe and there is no need to worry. Director of New Delhi’s CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) Anurag Agrawal has advised that staying cautious and following good practices should be sufficient to tackle the new strain of Covid-19, as per a PTI report.

Virologist Upasana Ray has also said that there is no cause for alarm. The most important step required is implementing the basic precautions like using masks and social distancing etc, she told PTI.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has revealed that preliminary modeling results communicated by the UK on December 19 suggest the variant is 70 per cent more transmissible than previously circulating variants. However, it also said there is no indication of increased infection severity observed related to the variant with multiple mutations in the spike protein.

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