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Coronavirus: What is India COVID variant, what we know so far

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 6 May 2021, 16:36 IST

What is the India variant?

Viruses mutate constantly, producing unalike types or variants of themselves. Most of these variants are insignificant and some may even make the virus less threatening but others can make it more transmissible and challenging to vaccinate against.

This variant - known as B.1.617 - was first found in India in October.

Is it more infectious or dangerous?

No one yet know if this variant is more infectious or resistant to vaccines.

According to Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University, one of its mutations is like those seen in variants found in South Africa and Brazil.

And this variant may help the virus steer clear of antibodies in the immune system that can combat coronavirus on the basis of experience from earlier infection or a vaccine.

However, what seems to be more worrying at the moment is a variant identified in the UK, which has spread to overr 50 countries.

Will vaccines still work?

According to scientists existing vaccines will help control the variant when it comes to preventing severe disease.

Some variants will surely dodge the current vaccines, according to a paper published in Nature by Prof Gupta and his fellow researchers. As a consequence, alterations to vaccine design will be required to make them more effectual.

However, the vaccinations now available are still very likely to curb the spread of the virus.

Why is so less known about it?

Much of the details about the India variant is incomplete, according to scientists, with few samples being shared - 298 in India and 656 overall, compared to over 384,000 strings of the UK variant.

And following the first logged cases in India, fewer than 400 cases of the variant have been found worldwide, Dr Kamil says.

Also Read: COVID-19: Lockdown in Kerala from May 8 to 16, announces Pinarayi Vijayan




First published: 6 May 2021, 16:36 IST