While there is a decline in the active coronavirus cases in India, a new COVID strain found in the United Kingdom has triggered panic. This new mutation is a “super-spreader” with 70 percent increased transmissibility rate, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said on Tuesday. However, this more aggressive strain of coronavirus has not been seen in India so far.

“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,” Dr. Paul said.

Explaining the virus mutation, he said, “Mutation means there is a change in RNA of the virus. The change in the virus is called drift. It has no significance. Around 17 changes are seen in the virus and one change –N501Y is responsible for the virus by which it enters human cells”.

In the wake of the new Covid strain, the government on Monday took some precautionary measures. “Passengers travelling to and from the UK have been stopped temporarily till 31 December. Since yesterday, we have started genetic sequencing of the samples which have come in our laboratory recently,” he said.

However, Dr. Paul said that there is no need to panic. “Based on our discussions with scientists in the UK, colleagues in World Health Organisation (WHO) and with our deep assessment, we can say that there is no need to panic. There is no change in the procedure and guidelines of treatment due to this mutation,” he said.