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‘No evidence that current vaccines will fail to protect against new strains’: Health Ministry

‘The changes in the variants are not sufficient to make the vaccines ineffective.’

SNS | New Delhi |

The Health Ministry on Tuesday has confirmed that the existing coronavirus vaccines will work against mutated strains of the virus that have emerged from the United Kingdom and South Africa in recent months.

“There is no evidence current vaccines will fail to protect against COVID-19 variants from the UK or South Africa,” Professor K Vijay Raghavan, the government’s Principal Scientific Adviser, said.

“Most vaccines do target the spike protein but vaccines stimulate our immune system to produce a wide range of antibodies. The changes in the variants are not sufficient to make the vaccines ineffective,” he added.

The Health Ministry’s response comes on query that the first lot of vaccines will be ineffective against aggressive variants of a virus.

As per the reports, the mutated versions of the coronavirus detected in the UK and South Africa are significantly more transmissible than other known strains.

Until this morning, six cases of UK variant of coronavirus, which is believed to be more hazardous that the first one, has been detected in India.

All the positive six cases have returned from UK out of which three of the patients are in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that the government foresees ‘a short extension’ of the suspension of flights from the United Kingdom beyond December 31 due to the fast-spreading new mutant strain of coronavirus found in UK.

Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, “I foresee a short extension on this temporary suspension. I don’t see the extension to be long or indefinite.”