Thursday, 25 February, 2021

India detects South African, Brazilian COVID-19 variants

The South African variant was detected in four people last month and the Brazilian one in one person this month Extra surge testing for parts of England to detect South African variant | ITV News
Cary Erickson | 17 February, 2021, 00:56

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found a total of 192 Covid-19 cases of the new variants of mutated SARS-CoV-2 in last two months, including four from the variant emerging in South Africa and one from the Brazilian variant, officials said on Tuesday.

Cases of the United Kingdom strain have soared across the nation since the beginning of the new year, with the number now around 1,000 cases, including 70 in NY, 42 in CT, and 36 in New Jersey. "All travellers and their contacts tested and quarantined", Dr Balram Bhargava, DG ICMR, said. Of the three, the South African variant known as 20H/501Y.V2 or B.1.351, is different from the one in Britain and appears to be more infectious than the original virus.

The South African variant was detected in four people last month and the Brazilian one in one person this month, they said, adding that the strains can more easily infect a person's lungs than the United Kingdom mutation. However, all travellers and their contacts have been tested and quarantined.

"Our case illustrates that the 501Y.V2 SARS-CoV-2 variant can also be responsible for severe reinfections after a first mild infection with non-VOC SARS-CoV-2", reads the study.

N.L. confirms U.K. variant behind outbreak, raises alert level
There have been 194 cases announced since Monday, accounting for almost all of the province's current active cases. There are now 260 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, most of those cases reported this week alone.

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. "South African and Brazilian variants are different from the United Kingdom variant", he said. "So though there are no direct flights, the government is looking at bringing in measures to check passengers from these countries", he said.

Stating that India should continue its vigil to contain the COVID virus despite the fall in number of active COVID cases in India and vaccines member (health) NITI Aayog V.K. Paul, noted that India is now giving COVID vaccines to 24 countries.

"We don't still fully understand the virus and need to be serious about vaccinating while following COVID appropriate behaviour". More than 1.06 crore (1,06,33,025) people have recovered so far.