The Centre on Tuesday reported that as the Covishield and Covaxin vaccines are being used to fight against the coronavirus, it is found effective against the UK and the Brazilian variants but when it comes to the case of the South African variants it creates some anxiety on different laboratories.
Talking to a weekly press conference of the Union health ministry, ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava also said of 11,064 genome samples were tested in the country, the UK variant of the virus was identified in 807, the South African variant in 47 and the Brazilian variant was found in one. “Both the vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin- are effective against the UK and the Brazilian variants and the work against the South African variant is ongoing at several laboratories,” he said.
Mr Bhargava further said that changes are uncommon and single changes are not found to be powerful in any particular area in India. “In terms of significance of the point of double mutations they are not significant as far as India is concerned and their relationship with increased severity or increased transmissibility has not been established in Indian context,” he said. Replying to another question, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there is no Indian tension of coronavirus.
Remarking that there are two ideas-concept of virus shift and virus drift, Bhushan said all viruses drift as the virus copies itself but the differences that occur due to this process are not important and it need not ask for any fast change in the public response plan.
He also told that it was “natural and inevitable phenomenon” that a virus that has been throughout for more than a year, moved through more than one crore people, will certainly undergo change. This is not a cause to fear, he added.
“However, when a virus shifts it undergoes significant changes and there is a need to test whether my existing vaccines work against the virus, known as variant or mutant virus,” he explained.
A week before, the Union health ministry said the modern “double mutant” variant of SARS-CoV-2 was discovered in Delhi, Maharashtra and some other places in addition to the three “variants of concern” — first noticed in the UK, South Africa and Brazil — that have been found in at least 18 states and union territories.