No trigger for concern but about new South African Covid-19 variant, says Maharashtra govt

Epidemiologists and well being officers in Maharashtra say there is no such thing as a explanation for concern but relating to a brand new Covid-19 variant in South Africa referred to as 501.V2. Maharashtra continues to quarantine passengers who’ve returned from the UK and Middle East as a precautionary measure towards variant B.1.1.7 detected in UK. Passengers from Europe and South Africa are additionally being quarantined and examined on the finish of seven days.

On January 4, British well being secretary Matt Hancock mentioned the 501.V2 variant sequenced in South Africa is of extra concern than the variant present in UK (B.1.1.7) as a consequence of questions of vaccine efficacy on the previous. South Africa reported the 501.V2 variant on December 18. It is a mutation in spike protein recognized as E484K. South Africa’s coastal areas are recording a spike in circumstances and deaths as a consequence of this mutation.

“Mutations are natural as viruses jump from one host to another. Not all mutations are of concern unless they give an extra weapon to the virus to spread. There is no indication or direction from the Indian government to strengthen our surveillance against the African variant,” mentioned state epidemiologist Dr Pradeep Awate.

Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Maharashtra Covid-19 Task Force, mentioned, “Available literature shows the R0 of UK variant is high and it is 70 times more transmissible than the original Sars-Cov-2. But no such detailed findings have come out for the African variant. Whether vaccine will work or not is a concern for all mutations and for that we need more research,” Joshi mentioned.

According to the World Health Organisation, the 501.V2 has unfold in three provinces of South Africa with preliminary research displaying it’s related to excessive viral load. Cases of 501.V2 variant are present in UK, Japan, Norway and Austria too.

In Mumbai, deputy govt well being officer Dr Daksha Shah mentioned worldwide passengers from Europe, UK, Middle East and South Africa are already being quarantined for seven days and examined for Covid-19 earlier than they’re launched. “This is abundant precaution. The centre has not issued any further directions ,” she mentioned.

Health Minister Rajesh Tope mentioned that at present they’re focussing on screening all UK returnees. “Those passengers who are Covid-19 positive and are immunocompromised are kept under isolation for 21 days and those with no comorbidity and are asymptomatic are kept in isolation for 14 days. Since November 25, all those who returned from UK have been traced,” Tope mentioned.

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