The Centre on Tuesday assured that the vaccines in the pipeline in India and across the globe will protect people against the mutations in SARS-CoV-2 found in the UK and South Africa.
Principal scientific advisor to the government, Prof Krishnaswamy Vijay Raghavan, told a press conference that there is no need to worry about the efficacy of vaccines in regard to the reported variants of novel coronavirus at this stage.
"There are changes reported in the variants of the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 and the vaccines target these proteins to build shield against the effect of the virus. People are concerned whether the current vaccines would work against these variants or not. But the changes in the variants are not sufficient to make the vaccine ineffective since it stimulates our immune system to produce a wide range of protective antibodies," Raghavan said.
"There is no evidence to suggest that the current vaccines will fail to protect against Covid-19 variants reported from the UK and South Africa," he stated.
Earlier in the day, the Union Health Ministry had informed that a total of six UK returnees have been found positive with the UK variant in the genome sequencing study at different laboratories. Three of these were detected in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, two in CCMB, Hyderabad and one in NIV, Pune.
The ministry also said that all these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments. Meanwhile, their close contacts have also been put under quarantine.
"Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on," the ministry said.