India detects South African, Brazilian Covid variants

The big news Centre says South Africa Covid-19 strain found in 4 returnees and 9 other top stories

The South African variant of Covid-19 is more infectious than the normal strain with very early research suggesting some of the vaccines may be less effective against it.

A government spokeswoman said people with symptoms should book a test in the normal way, while those without symptoms should visit their local authority website for more information. Their contacts have been isolated and tested. Sequencing revealed several mutations characteristic of the B.1.351 variant, altering the surface spike proteins. All travellers and contacts have been tested and quarantined.

According to scientists the South African variant is more contagious and it has been found that it is resistant to one of the three vaccines approved so far.

Bhargava added that that this variant has spread to 44 countries and the National Institute of Virology, Pune is attempting to isolate and culture the variant.

"We don't have evidence yet that any of the variants are completely resistant to the vaccine, but there is some preliminary evidence to say that perhaps the effectiveness of the vaccine is somewhat less against the South African variant", she told the public broadcaster Kan last month.

Speaking about measures to restrict and check the entry of COVID virus strains (South Africa/Brazil) into the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that flights from South Africa and Brazil to India are routed through Gulf countries.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the daily new Covid cases fell below 10,000 for the fourth time this month, taking India's tally to 1,09,25,710, while fresh fatalities remained below 100 for the tenth time this month.

"We don't still fully understand the virus and need to be serious about vaccinating while following COVID appropriate behaviour". He also said that 11 States/ UTs with vaccination coverage of less than 50% including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Chandigarh, Nagaland and Puducherry have been instructed to have multiple vaccination sessions.

On Tuesday, Malta registered 102 new coronavirus cases while two more people died of the virus.



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