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New coronavirus strain not found in India till now: ICMR-NARI director

Dr Panda struck a cautious tone and said, 'We need to keep a track of humans infected...If all the clinical indications like the severity of the disease, fatality rate are remaining low, we don't need to panic at all but we need to be watchful'

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | December 23, 2020 | Updated 10:04 IST
New coronavirus strain not found in India till now: ICMR-NARI director
Passengers wait in the arrival area after landing of a flight from United Kingdom at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, in Mumbai (Photo: PTI)

The new, more transmissible strain of coronavirus detected in Britain has not yet been found in India, Dr Samiran Panda, director of ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) said. Dr Panda said they have tested samples collected from the various parts of the country and haven't seen the mutant strain until now.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Dr Panda added: "We are keeping track of the viral genome that is circulating within the country. Over the last six-seven months, the viral genome studies that have taken place involving over 2,000 samples that have not identified this mutation".

Panda said that seven-eleven sub-types of coronavirus are already known but there was nothing to be panic about.

However, Dr Panda struck a cautious tone and said, "It is time for us to remain watchful but not to panic. We need to keep a track of human being infected...If all the clinical indications like the severity of the disease, fatality rate are remaining low, we don't need to panic at all but we need to be watchful that the scientists are coming across".

So far, around 20 air travellers and crew members coming from London's Heathrow airport have tested positive for coronavirus in India in the last two days. Their swab samples have been to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, to check if anyone has been infected from a new strain of COVID-19.

"We are having our surveillance. There have been a large number of the sample tested and we haven't seen mutants. But this does not mean that we can let our guards down, it will be disastrous," Dr Panda said.

Further, Dr Panda seemed optimistic about the ongoing vaccine work against COVID-19. Any vaccine against the virus works by stimulating the immune response against different components of the virus. It is premature to think that the efforts to develop a vaccine is going to fall apart. There isn't enough scientific evidence to say that the vaccine is going to fail, he said.

Also read: India may approve Serum Institute's Covishield by next week as UK still examines data

Also read: New COVID-19 strain: 20 passengers from London test positive at 5 airports in 2 days

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