The recent news reports of a new coronavirus strain in London has spurred tremendous levels of anxiety and nervousness across the globe. This unfortunate news came at a time when the entire world is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a vaccine to effectively combat this deadly contagious virus. The breakout of this new coronavirus strain sent countries around the world into a tizzy, with the WHO, medical experts, researchers, all trying to understand the repercussions of this finding. As a precautionary step, a complete lockdown has been imposed in London, as well as across the U.K. amid the forthcoming festive season of Christmas and New Year. Moreover, stringent travel restrictions have been laid down, banning people, flights to and from London, by countries all over Europe, including Germany, Netherlands as well as nations much further away, like Australia and India.
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This new coronavirus strain was initially discovered in the city of Kent in the U.K on September 20, 2020. However, owing to its rampant spread in several districts in London, particularly this month, U.K’s Health Secretary, Mr. Matt Hancock, publicly declared the existence of this mutant viral strain only on December 14. Additionally, healthcare experts at the WHO have insisted it upon the U.K., to immediately implement rigorous containment measures, to avert the transmission of the new coronavirus strain to other countries in Europe and across the globe.
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Since people worldwide are filled with uncertainty upon the announcement of this broadcast and have numerous doubts pertaining to the implications of this new coronavirus strain on health, safety, it is important to comprehend the facts and stay informed. Firstly, the genetic material in viruses – RNA or ribonucleic acid, constantly and always undergo mutations in their arrangement, structure, which is a part of their natural evolution process in the host, that is the human body. Furthermore, no alarming increase in the severity of infection, as well as mortality or deaths linked with COVID-19, have been reported with this specific mutant coronavirus strain in the U.K.
Also, the Health Minister of India, Mr. Harsh Vardhan, has assured the citizens that there is “no need to panic”. He has stated that the authorities in the country are on high alert, with ample steps being taken to avoid the new coronavirus strain that has originated in the U.K. from entering the Indian subcontinent. Browse through this article, that provides accurate information on the new coronavirus strain and its overall impact on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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FAQs Regarding The New Strain Of Coronavirus:
Is This New Viral Variant Related To COVID-19 Or Is It Another Unique Deadly Virus?
Yes, in-depth laboratory studies conducted by scientists in the United Kingdom have confirmed that this new coronavirus variant, designated as VUI – 202012/01 or lineage B.1.1.7, is indeed a modified version of the SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus. Also called the novel coronavirus, this pathogen prompts the lethal respiratory infection of COVID-19 in people. It has certain differences in the genetic assembly from the previously discovered strains of SARS-CoV-2. However, there is no need for the general public to worry, as it is not a totally new and unknown virus that causes a different kind of illness in humans. It only induces COVID-19, whose symptoms are clearly understood and for which, successful management and treatment measures are now available.
How Is It Different From Other Previously Identified Strains Of SARS-CoV-2?
Researchers in the U.K. have confirmed that numerous mutations, as many as 23, have surfaced in the new coronavirus strain. This makes the mutant coronavirus strain significantly more transmissible by as much as 70 per cent i.e. possessing ease of ability to spread much faster than the previously discovered variants of the novel coronavirus. Nevertheless, it is not more dangerous in any way and triggers COVID-19 infection plus its associated symptoms of cough, cold, fever, headaches and sore throat a few days post infesting a person, just like other variants of SARS-CoV-2. Also, similar to the other types of SARS-CoV-2 viral vectors, this new strain presents with severe breathing distress, lung infection and respiratory failure predominantly in people with immunosuppressed, co-morbid conditions or those who are afflicted by a high load of viruses in their blood.
Will The Vaccines Devised For COVID-19 Be Effective Against This New Coronavirus Strain?
Yes, the vast majority of scientific experts in the U.K and from other countries around the world state that in maximum cases, the vaccines formulated thus far for COVID-19 will work against this new coronavirus strain as well. This is because, although the currently produced vaccines have taken into account the code of spike proteins displayed by previous SARS-CoV-2 strains, the human body has the capability to produce several antibodies for a single spike protein antigen. This makes it rather challenging for the virus particles in the host human bloodstream to overcome the neutralizing complementary antibodies, thereby preventing further COVID-19 infection after getting vaccinated, irrespective of which coronavirus strain attempts to invade the system.