The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a new route as a new virus strain which is said to be 70% more transmissible has been found in the UK.
As of now, many countries including India have closed their borders and, banned flights from the UK.
The new strain has everyone worried. But before we panic, it'd be wise to know everything there is about the latest strain.
1. What exactly is this new virus strain?
The new strain or also known as the 'VUI-202012/01' in its 'spike' protein through which the virus infects people has a genetic mutation. As per scientists, this mutation can cause a quicker spread of the virus, in theory.
2. When was it detected?
The variant in no sense is new as it was detected back in September. By November, a quarter of people were infected with this new strain and by December, it was responsible for two-thirds of cases.
3. Where has the new strain reached?
In the UK, the strain has been located in London, southeast, and eastern England. Other countries like Denmark and Australia have received the strain from the UK. Meanwhile, even the Netherlands have reported cases due to the same.
In India, 5 people have tested positive for COVID-19, out of 266 passengers and crew members of a flight that landed in India last night from the UK. It is yet to be said if the new strain has hit the country.
Five out of 266 passengers & crew members of a flight which arrived at Delhi airport from London last night have tested positive for COVID-19. Their samples have been sent to NCDC for research & they have been sent to care centre: Nodal officer for COVID-19— ANI (@ANI) December 22, 2020
4. Will it cause severe infection?
There is no evidence that states the new strain will cause people to suffer from a severe infection. Mutations/genetic changes happen naturally in viruses as they populate among people. But this strain is problematic as it increases transmission rate inviting other major issues.
5. What does WHO have to say about this?
Dr. Michael Ryan, Emergencies Chief, WHO commented that:
There’s zero evidence that there’s any increase in severity.
6. What is India doing to fight the new strain?
India has banned travel from the UK. People arriving before 11:59 PM on 22nd December will have to go through a compulsory RT-PCR test at the airports.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has imposed a compulsory 15 days institutional quarantine for people traveling from Europe and the Middle East. People traveling from other places will have to go through a home quarantine.
7. Will the vaccine work on the new strain?
As of now, the vaccine will work on the new strain.
2020 is a new day, a new 'strain'.