New Coronavirus strains should not warrant unnecessary concern: AIIMS Director

Delhi AIIMS director and member of the national task force on COVID-19 management, Dr Randeep Guleria, on Friday, informed about the Coronavirus had undergone several mutations, an average of two per month, and that new strains should not warrant unnecessary concern.

“The mutations have not led to any change in symptoms and treatment strategy. According to current data, the vaccines in the trial phase (which are up for emergency authorisation) should also be effective against the new (UK) strain. The next six-eight weeks were crucial in India’s battle against the virus as cases and fatalities have been declining,” he added.


The UK strain was red-flagged solely because the mutated virus was more infectious. “It, however, does not require extended hospitalisation. Neither does it cause more deaths. There have been many mutations during the last 10 months and it is quite common,” he said while ruling out the impact of the mutations on the vaccines.

On continuing international flight services, especially to the UK, Guleria said if these were resumed, the authorities should ensure gene sequencing of at least 10% of the flyers testing positive after arrival in India.

On the possibility of herd immunity against COVID-19 in the country, the AIIMS director said plans were afoot to carry out more serological surveys across states to understand how many people had developed antibodies against the contagion.