New coronavirus strain found in the UK, prevention trumps cure despite vaccines rolling out
December 22: A new strain of the coronavirus called the VUI (Variant Under Investigation) 202012/01 or the B.1.1.7 lineage was first detected in September. The spike in COVID-19 cases in the UK around the same time was attributed to this new strain.
India suspended all flights from the UK until 31 December following concerns over the rapid spread of this coronavirus.
Although the UK is not alone in this. Australia, France and Italy have also reported discovering new strains of the virus. According to an Indian Express report, the variant detected in the United Kingdom was identified in genomic surveillance conducted by COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK), a consortium that analyzes genome sequencing data in the country. Reports by the COG-UK shows that it causes multiple mutations in the spike protein of the virus along with other regions of the RNA virus.
Reportedly, this strain is more transmissible than the previous one.
Despite the new strains and an uncertain future, it is important to remember that prevention is better than cure. Practising social distancing, maintaining hygiene and isolating oneself as soon as the symptoms appear is mandatory now.