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165 infected with UK variant of COVID-19 in India, says govt

Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others.

January 28, 2021 / 02:58 PM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

The number of people who have tested positive for the UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the country has climbed to 165, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday. All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated Health Care facilities by respective state governments.

Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others.

"The total number of cases infected with the new strain of the novel coronavirus first reported in the UK now stands at 165," the ministry said.

Of the total 165 cases, the mutated UK strain was detected in the samples of 42 people at National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in New Delhi and 51 in the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi, five in the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, 44 in the National Institute of Virology in Pune, eight in the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)in Hyderabad, 14 in National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences Hospital (NIMHANS)Bengaluru and one in the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG), Kalyani (near Kolkata).

The presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by several countries, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The Government of India took cognizance of the reports of virus reported from the UK and put in place a proactive and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant.
PTI
first published: Jan 28, 2021 02:33 pm

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