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Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan. (ANI)
Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan. (ANI)

No significant virus mutations found in India yet: Vardhan

It would take some time for herd immunity to develop and to cover 70% of the population, says health minister

Detailed results on mutations and evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in India will be available in early October, Union minister of health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday in the second episode of Sunday Samvaad.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been conducting large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus collected over the past several months over different time points, the health minister said. However, no significant or drastic mutations have been found in strains in India till now, he added.

It would take some time for herd immunity to develop and be able to cover 70% of the population, Harsh Vardhan said, even as the total number of covid-19 cases in the India touched 5.5 million on Sunday, with over 87,000 fatalities. “Hence, the focus of the government is primarily towards putting together a strategy that combines containment and hospital management."

He also talked about vaccines and drugs being developed through alternative medicine. The AYUSH ministry along with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and ICMR have developed research protocols validating the claims of various AYUSH practitioners for covid-19 solutions, though no formulation has been validated as a specific drug to treat covid- 19 till now.

Graphic: Mint
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Graphic: Mint


“The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization has permitted AYUSH practitioners to conduct research on covid-19 and generate evidence towards development of Ayurvedic drugs for covid-19," he said.

On 12 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in his address to the nation that an economic package of 20 trillion to tide over the coronavirus crisis and make India ‘atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant). The Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan will strengthen the nation to an extent where the country will be able to tackle any eventuality, including another pandemic, the health minister said.

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