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New variant of Sars-Cov-2 not impediment to vaccine development, says CCMB – india news

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Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology on Tuesday said that the new variant of Coronavirus Sars-Cov-2 is not more dangerous than its original variant and is not an impediment to the vaccine development.

“The new variant of SARS-CoV-2 that causes Covid-19 (B.1.1.7) disease is 71% more transmittable than the other variants. The mutations do not worsen the symptoms or the disease outcomes,” CCMB director Dr Rakesh Mishra said.

He said the mutant form of Sars-Cov-2 was not an impediment to the vaccine development and the testing protocol also remained the same. “The measures to avoid infection still remain the same. Using masks when in presence of others, avoiding crowded places, maintaining physical distancing are the most effective and feasible ways for avoiding this virus, including the new variant,” he said.

He said it was now very important to launch an extensive genome surveillance of the virus to assess the extent of the spread of the new virus. “We should also keep an eye on other variants that might emerge independently, as India houses the second largest population infected with this virus, at present,” Dr Mishra said.

First reported in the UK in September 2020, this variant makes up for 60% of all coronavirus infection there. Many countries including India have temporarily banned flights from the UK. By tracing and testing 33,000 passengers who have flown in to India from the UK, India has confirmed the presence of this new variant in the country.

CCMB, a CSIR institute, is one of the ten research institutes in India that is tracing the new variant of the virus here. “We needed to expedite the viral genome sequencing efforts, and check for the presence of the new variant in India. We have used both, the traditional Sanger sequencing method as well as the modern Next-Gen Sequencing tools,” Dr Divya Tej Sowpati, who leads the Coronavirus genome sequencing efforts at CCMB, said.

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