Home / News / India /  India reports 6 cases of new Covid-19 strain as UK returnees test positive

The country on Tuesday recorded six cases of a mutant strain of Covid-19, which is 70% more transmissible and was first reported in the United Kingdom a few days ago.

All six patients recently returned from Britain. As per a government statement, three samples in NIMHANS of Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune have been detected out of all the samples tested.

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Taking cognizance of the reports of the new Covid-19 strain being detected in the country, the Central Government has put in place a pro-active and preventive strategy to detect and contain the mutant variant.

All the six infected people have been kept in single-room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments in the country. The close contacts of the infected ones have also been put under quarantine.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said, "The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG labs."

Meanwhile, the government is doing a comprehensive contact tracing exercise for their co-travellers, family, among others.

Labs for monitoring genomic variations in new UK virus

Ten regional laboratories have been identified by the government where states will send 5% of their coronavirus positive samples for genome sequencing to detect the new coronavirus strain that has emerged.

The Ministry of Health has also established the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) for laboratory and epidemiological surveillance and expand whole-genome sequencing of the coronavirus in the country, aiding in the understanding of how the virus spreads and evolves.

"The 10 regional genome sequencing laboratories spread across the country will cater to the nearest states, which will send 5% of the positive samples to these labs for genome sequencing," said the Union Health Ministry.

The viral genome sequencing data generated will be analysed by the respective centres and sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi, for collation and integration.

The 10 labs are -- DBT-National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani (near Kolkata), DBT-Institute of Life Sciences in Bhubhaneshwar, ICMR-National Institute of Virology and DBT-National Centre for Cell Science in Pune, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and DBT-Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, DBT InSTEM/NCBS, Bengaluru, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences Hospital in Bengaluru, CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology and NCDC in the national capital.

Will vaccines work against this new virus strain?

Experts have said despite the mutation, a Covid-19 vaccine will be equally effective against it as there was no reason to believe that vaccines that have already been developed would not be effective against the new strain as well.

As per reports, experts have said that coronavirus vaccines are not dependent on one antibody. They are dependent on a number of antibodies to provide protection. So now, we don't have to worry about it.

Apart from India, the new coronavirus variant, first detected in the UK, has also been reported in Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore, and a few other countries.

With agency inputs

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