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New Covid strain a super-spreader, has 70% transmissibility: Centre

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New Delhi: At a time when India is witnessing a decline in the active coronavirus cases, a new mutation of COVID-19 virus strain in United Kingdom has become a “super-spreader” with 70 per cent increased transmissibility rate. However, this mutated and more aggressive strain of coronavirus has not been found in India so far, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog said late Tuesday.

According to the Union Health Ministry data, India’s active caseload has fallen below 3 lakh (2,92,518) as of Tuesday, the lowest in 163 days.

Addressing a press conference on COVID-19 updates, Dr VK Paul said, “We are in good position and we have to keep this momentum. It will help in suppressing the virus by remaining vigilant. In UK, new mutation of virus has been seen.”

“We talked to the UK research community and we came to know that the mutation has enhanced the transmissibility rate of the virus. It is being said that 70 per cent transmissibility rate has increased. We can say that the virus has become super-spreader,” Dr Paul said.

“This virus mutation is not affecting the severity of the disease, neither the case fatality nor the hospitalization rate. The new strain or mutation of coronavirus seen in the United Kingdom has not been seen in India, so far. There is no cause for concern, no need to panic. As for now, we need to stay vigilant,” he added.

Explaining the virus mutation, Dr Paul said, “Mutation means there is a change in RNA of the virus. The change in the virus is called drift. It has no significance. This behaviour is seen in many virus including this virus.”

“Around 17 changes are seen in the virus and one change –N501Y is responsible for the virus by which it enters human cells. It increases the tendency of the virus to enter in our body. Only the tendency to infect more people has increased. It is a cause for concern. It is an adverse development in UK,” Dr Paul added.