India experts meet today over new strain of virus in the UK

Posted by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |

Updated: December 21, 2020, 7:18:22 am

Dr.  Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health, Education News, Medical College, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Education News, Convocation, mbb, neet,Union Minister Harsh Vardhan (express photo by Amit Mehra)

The Ministry of Health’s top advisory body will meet urgently on Monday to discuss the issue new strain of the new coronavirus in the UK, which has raised concern and led several European countries to suspend incoming flights from the UK.

According to sources, experts from AIIMS and the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) along with a representative from the World Health Organization (WHO) will be attending the meeting on the new strain showing changes in the spike protein that could theoretically make it more contagious.

While India’s top regulatory agency has asked three vaccine manufacturers for additional data on late-stage studies in order to consider clearing their candidates for the emergency, Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on Sunday, he “personally” believes India may be in a position to “maybe” begin giving the vaccine to the public next month.

“Our first priority was the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. We don’t want to compromise here. Personally, I think that we may be able to give people in India the first Covid vaccine every week of January, “the ANI news agency quoted Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech have filed with the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for emergency approval for their vaccine candidates.

“The joint monitoring group, led by the Director General for Health Services, will discuss this issue (of the British tribe) and make a recommendation to the Union Department of Health. In addition to experts from AIIMS, ICMR and the WHO, epidemiologists and experts from outside the government will also attend the meeting, ”said a top source.

British media reported on Sunday that Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands have announced flight bans Carriage of passengers from the UK, and that a similar move has also been considered by France and Germany.

The Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, which happens to be performing genetic sequencing of positive Covid-19 samples across the UK, has identified a new set of mutations in the virus called VUI-202012/0. In a report on Saturday, COG-UK said one of the major mutations, N501Y, occurs in the region of the spike protein, the receptor binding domain (RBD) that the virus uses to bind to the human ACE2 receptor. “Changes in this region of the spike protein can cause the virus to change its ACE2 binding specificity and alter antibody recognition,” said COG-UK.

However, the consortium has emphasized that “at this point in time there is no reason to believe that any of the mutations discussed here will affect the effectiveness of the vaccine”. The mutation has caused 1,100 new infections in 60 local authorities, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock was quoted as saying. On December 14, Hancock had informed the House of Commons that the initial analysis showed that the new variant “may be linked” to the recent surge in cases in the south-east of England.

NERVTAG (New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group), which advises the UK government, said it had “moderate confidence that VUI-202012/01 has a significant increase in portability compared to other variants”.

But it also says that “there is currently insufficient data to draw conclusions about the mechanism of increased transferability and increased viral load”. “The position of the mutations in the receptor binding domain of the spike glycoprotein increases the possibility that this variant will differ antigenically from previous variants. Four probable re-infections were found in 915 subjects with this variant. However, more work is needed to compare this reinfection rate with comparable data sets, ”said the advisory group.

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