On 29th December, the India Council of Medical Research – ICMR warned against the indiscriminate use of the experimental therapies that was taking place in treating patients for the Covid-19 virus, they further said that by doing this it puts a lot of immune pressure on the Sars-Cov-2 virus, and hence allowing and causing it to mutate faster.
This warning came after the discovery of a new variant of the virus that has been found in the UK and which causes Covid-19. The scientist says that the new strain is more transmissible and also more fast than that of the original one.
Dr Balram Bhargava who is the director general of the ICMR said that now the question arises that why should these variations occur? He further said that these variations occur because of the immune pressure on the virus. The immune pressure on the virus may be related to the environment or it can also be related to the host, or the treatment that was given, or can also be related to other modalities that can cause this pressure on the virus. So he says that it is important from the perspective of the scientific community that they do not put immune pressure on the virus.
According to the initial results of the genome sequencing of positive samples that were released by the Indian Sars-Cov-2 Genomics Consortium labs on 29th December, the returns who came from UK , and Six out of which have tested positive for the new UK variant of the Sars-Cov-2.
Three of the positive samples that for the new UK variant were from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences which is situated in Bengaluru, the two of them were from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology which is in Hyderabad, and the one which was left came from ICMR-National Institute Virology which is in Pune.
Bhargava added that the reason why they have to maintain the judicious use of therapies and which are going to benefit, if their benefit is not established, then they should not use those therapies otherwise they will be putting tremendous immune pressure on the virus. This will lead the virus to tend to mutate more. He also added that the therapy should be used which are well established and the judicious use needs to happen for those that are not well-established.
The critics of the plasma therapy had also pointed out in the past that how the indiscriminate use could result in the significant mutations in the virus.
From 25th November to the midnight of 23rd December, near to about 33,000 passengers had left at various Indian airports from UK.
All these passengers that had left are being tracked by the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction tests in order to detect Covid-19. From all of the samples that were tested , around 114 samples have been found to found positive for COVID – 19 till now. These positive samples that were found have also been sent to 10 INSACOG labs for the genome sequencing.
Bhargava said that the genetic mutations occur in the respiratory viruses and these kind of minor drifts can occur from time to time. Once a lot of drifts occur after that they become more important and it can become the variant it has happened in the United Kingdom. This has a transmissibility of about 60% or so and that is a lot high and he said that this is a point of concern that they are testing in India for the variations regularly.
However the genomics experts says that there is not a lot of a change in the terms of how the disease is handled after they have found about the new UK variant in our country.
Dr Anurag Agarwal who is the director of the council of Scientific and Industrial research in New Delhi said that it was always likely. There are no kind of changes in terms of what they need to do. He also said that usual precautions that were taken will work well for this new variant as well.