Should We Worry About India’s New Virus Variant?

What is India’s new virus variant, and how will it affect the nation?

Just In

According to the situation report on outbreak.info, apart from the UK, the new COVID-strain in India has been found in at least 9 other countries, including the US, Australia and New Zealand. So, what is this new variant?

Double Mutation

The news of the ‘double mutant’ variant of COVID-19 being found in India is not something entirely new. Earlier in March, the country’s health ministry said that genome sequencing by INSACOG showed coronavirus variants of concern and a novel variant in India. In mid-April, the WHO said that it is reviewing whether to add the strain recorded in India to its variant of interest list. Until now, WHO has identified the variants that emerged in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil as variants of concern.

The Impact

What problems can they cause? Mutations can lead to 20% more in-hospital deaths like how it was during the second wave in South Africa. Some mutant variants possess the ability to spread faster, resulting in sudden increase in cases and an overwhelmed healthcare system. Most of these implications can be seen in India now, with the country seeing a sudden jump in cases, leading to shortage of hospital beds and oxygen cylinders.

Hope Ahead

Also, a senior government official told Reuters that India will waive its 10% customs duty on imported COVID-19 vaccines. The official also stated that the Centre was considering allowing private entities to import approved vaccines for sale on the open market without government intervention.

The government’s move to increase the supply of vaccines and allowing more people to get vaccinated is a great move. Moreover, the government should also improve containment measures to curb the emergence of new variants. Apart from this, the Indian vaccine manufactures have to develop better vaccines, which will work against these new variants.

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