HYDERABAD: The IHU B.1.640.2, the latest Covid-19 variant that was first found in France, has not yet been detected in India. However, according to health experts, the country needs to closely monitor the situation and be alert against the variant that carries more than 46 mutations and could spread rapidly in densely populated areas.
According to health experts, though the prevalence of Omicron is declining worldwide, the IHU B.1.640.2 is among the new variants which will continue to grow.“We may see new variants and mutations for years. People need not worry. But researchers need to monitor these new variants to know their severity and suggest precautionary measures,” they opine.
The IHU B.1.640.2 is a mild variant and not a severe one as less than one per cent of cases were detected in France and a few in the UK. The genome sequencing revealed that the variant had only mild symptoms.
According to Rakesh Mishra, Director of Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, it is not yet clear how different IHU B.1.640.2 will be with other mutations and how fast it will spread in India.“The mutation will keep changing by nature. The nation needs to move forward, even with the virus prevailing, by taking precautionary measures,” he said.
“All new variants are likely to be mild spreaders. Immune system and antibodies are enough to fight such variants. With new mutations, there will be no need for vaccinations to fight all the new variants. But ignoring those and not taking precautionary measures may prove dangerous,” he added.
“For all variants, we need to follow the standard precautionary measures like wearing face masks and crowding. Adequate ventilation is mandatory. In addition, vaccination (if suggested) will help lower the severity of disease. Test, track and isolate is relevant too,” he said.