World is facing around 4,000 variants of coronavirus, warns Britain

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Feb 04, 2021, 04:05 PM(IST)

Covid-19 vaccines (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

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Britain on Thursday said that there are at least 4,000 variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, while pushing for improving inoculation measures across the globe

Britain on Thursday said that there are at least 4,000 variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, while pushing for improving inoculation measures across the globe. 

The country is also exploring the possibility of mixing the doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. The virus is currently undergoing multiple mutations. The British variant was among the first to be discovered. Since then, multiple variants have been found across the world including in South Africa and Brazil. 

These variants spread faster than the original one, and Boris Johnson earlier claimed that the variant was also more deadly. UK's Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi claimed that it's unlikely for the vaccines to not work against the new variants.

"It's very unlikely that the current vaccine won't be effective on the variants whether in Kent or other variants especially when it comes to severe illness and hospitalisation," Zahawi told Sky News earlier.

Also read: UK virus variant has developed concerning new mutation in small number of cases

"All manufacturers, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and others, are looking at how they can improve their vaccine to make sure that we are ready for any variant - there are about 4,000 variants around the world of COVID now", Zahawi added.

The British Medical Journal claimed that even though thousands of variants are bound to arise as a result of mutation, only a small minority will be important enough to change the course of the virus and how it spreads.

The British variant is known as VUI-202012/01, and its mutations include a change in the spike protein which is used by viruses to stick to the human ACE2 receptor.

Also read: Study shows variant spreading in Britain could become resistant to vaccines

So far, COVID-19 has killed over 2.268 million people across the world after it emerged in China in 2019, as per data from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

Israel is currently leading the pattern of global inoculation in terms of population. Following Israel are the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Bahrain, the United States, followed by Spain, Italy, and Germany.

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