Efficacy of vaccines unlikely to be impacted by new strain

With the trials of two COVID vaccines being undertaken in the State, the impact of the new mutant variant of the virus on the effectiveness of the vaccine needs to be determined, said experts. After the strain with higher transmissibility has been detected in the UK, doctors are discussing the impact of the new strain on the medications and vaccine being developed.
Efficacy of vaccines unlikely to be impacted by new strain


Experts said if the new strain does not affect the susceptibility of the virus to the vaccines being developed, the efficacy of the vaccines might not be impacted significantly. “Mutations are common and we have seen it in case of influenza. The vaccine for influenza is thus altered accordingly and directions are issued for its administration as per the given instructions every year. Similarly, the COVID-19 vaccine may need to be altered accordingly to maintain its safety and efficacy,” said S Raju, an official from the State Public Health Laboratory. 
There is no evidence to suggest that the new strain is likely to affect the standard treatment now. A senior official from Indian Council of Medical Research stated that there is no new protocol for the treatment so far and there is no such data to decide that the new strain will need a distinct process of medications and treatment. “The mutations can affect the transmissibility and thus, impact the infection rate. The research on other viruses in the past suggests that they adapt to prevent its extinction and this is why the composition of the vaccine is slightly altered to maintain it’s efficacy,” said the official. 
However, virologists and public health experts said mutations suggest that there might be more number of cases and public healthcare needs to be strengthened. Public health expert Dr K Kolandaisamy said that the severity of the infection and the infection rate can vary upon the mutation of any virus, which makes it important for the public to take safety precautions seriously.

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