COVID-19 Outbreak Explained: Can COVID-19 Vaccines Fight Against Virus Mutations?

COVID-19 Outbreak Explained: Can COVID-19 Vaccines Fight Against Virus Mutations?

Though the mutant strains of the Coronavirus tend to spread faster and be more infectious, they do not seem to cause more severe illness or a higher death rate
COVID-19 Outbreak Explained: Can COVID-19 Vaccines Fight Against Virus Mutations?Two particular variants reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) have one change in common and that is called the N501Y mutation
Highlights
  • The two variants tend to spread faster; they are more infectious: WHO
  • Coronavirus variants do not seem to cause more severe illness: WHO
  • Current COVID-19 vaccines are likely to work against mutant virus: Experts

New Delhi: The emergence of a new strain of mutated coronavirus in the United Kingdom (UK) and South Africa has raised concerns over the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines especially at a time when India has planned to begin a vaccination programme from January 16. Two particular variants reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) have one change in common and that is called the N501Y mutation. But otherwise, the two are different. According to the WHO, the reason there is a concern is that both of these variants were associated with an increase in the number of cases in both of these countries – the UK and South Africa. Giving out more details of the two variants, WHO’s Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan, said,

Scientists have now studied this and have found that these variants do tend to spread faster, they are more transmissible or more infectious. So that’s the worrying part. However, so far, they do not seem to cause more severe illness or a higher death rate or any sort of different clinical manifestations. They seem to behave pretty much as the previous viruses were behaving and cause a pretty similar kind of disease.

When asked how concerned should an individual be about the mutation, Dr Rajesh Parikh, Director, Medical Research at Jaslok Hospital and the author of ‘The Vaccine Book for COVID-19’, told NDTV, we should be concerned but not too worried.

Also Read: COVID-19 Outbreak Explained: What Do We Know So Far About The New Coronavirus Strains Detected In The United Kingdom And South Africa

Will Vaccines Be Effective Against Different Mutant Of Virus?

Dr Swaminathan asserted that possible mutations are kept in mind while developing a vaccine as some vaccines need to be updated with the change in the strain of the virus. Explaining the same with an example, Dr Swaminathan said,

We have some vaccines, like measles, which you don’t need to change at all. You make the vaccine; it works pretty much all the time. But you also have vaccines like against the influenza virus, where you have to change the structure of the vaccine every year, based on the circulating strains and WHO coordinates this global network that actually identifies which strain should be used every year.

SARS-CoV-2 is mutating significantly but Dr Swaminathan is of the opinion that a couple of changes or mutations in the virus should not make the current vaccines ineffective. She added,

At this point in time, most scientists believe that the vaccines that are currently in development and a couple that has been approved should provide protection against this variant and other variant because these vaccines elicit a fairly broad immune response, a host of antibodies and cell-mediated immune responses. But right now, there are studies going on in labs around the world to actually confirm that.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Are Mild Symptoms Of COVID-19?

Echoing the same, AIIMS Director, Dr Randeep Guleria told NDTV, it is very unlikely that vaccines will be ineffective as they induce T-cell immunity for long-term protection against viruses. But, to determine the efficacy of vaccines against mutations Dr Guleria called for more data. He added,

Vaccines try and induce neutralising antibodies by acting at multiple sites on the level of spike protein and also induce T-cell immunity in the human body. The vaccine will work despite the mutations that are happening. However, we need to see will this affect the efficacy of the vaccine. I think we need more data for that. And we also need to have a plan in place in case there is a major mutation that may lead to a significant decline in vaccine efficacy; how can we change the vaccine, which can be done, so that we cover for the mutant strain also.

Dr Swaminathan also noted that if vaccines are less effective against one or both of the two variants, it will be possible to change the composition of the antigens and the vaccines quite quickly.

Adding to this, Dr Parikh said,

The Pfizer vaccine has proven effective against the mutation in a preliminary study conducted with the University of Texas. However, the data is not peer-reviewed or published. It is likely that vaccines will be effective against the variants. If not, they can be modified easily, especially the mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines.

Also Read: COVID-19 Pandemic Explained: What Is Reproduction (R) Number And Why Does It Matter?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains mRNA vaccines as vaccines that teach our cells how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. The protein then triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Currently, unlike influenza, coronavirus doesn’t mutate that much and therefore, it is likely that we may not have to change the vaccine as frequently as we do with influenza, clarified Dr Guleria.

Can A Recovered Patient Be Reinfected With A Different Strain Of The Coronavirus?

Dr Guleria explained that even if an individual is infected with a different strain, it will still be a coronavirus and an individual will have immunity against it. He added,

We even know from the past that even if you have an infection with another coronavirus strain there is some degree of cross-immunity. So, with this strain, the change is not that much. It is the same strain that has only mutated, you will still continue to have protection as far you have antibody and cell mutated immunity in your body. Therefore, if you have had an infection in the past, the chance of you getting reinfection with a new mutant strain is less. You will have some degree of protection.

Also Read: COVID-19 Explained: How Can Winter Season Impact India’s Current Declining COVID Trend?

Protecting Against The New Mutation

Dr Swaminathan said that the variant spreads in a similar way and suggested attacking the virus with the same public and social measures that have been used so far to control the spread of the coronavirus. She reiterated the health measures that have worked in the past and said,

We know that testing, that identifying those who are infectious, that being able to provide them supportive isolation, tracking and contact tracing, and quarantining all the contacts, making sure that people continue to comply with the physical distancing, with wearing a mask with avoiding crowded places, avoiding closed settings, where there are a lot of people, washing hands, respiratory etiquette, staying home if you’re sick. All of these things together definitely make a difference in bringing down transmission.

Also Read: COVID-19 New Cases Show A Decline, But Experts Warn Against Complacency As India Gears Up Vaccination In Phases

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

9,87,19,695Cases
4,21,73,757Active
5,44,25,394Recovered
21,20,544Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 192 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 9,87,19,695 and 21,20,544 have died; 4,21,73,757 are active cases and 5,44,25,394 have recovered as on January 24, 2021 at 4:12 am.

India

1,06,54,533 14849Cases
1,84,408 -1254Active
1,03,16,786 15948Recovered
1,53,339 155Deaths
In India, there are 1,06,54,533 confirmed cases including 1,53,339 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,84,408 and 1,03,16,786 have recovered as on January 24, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Mumbai45,478
Thane13,660
Pune9,920
Mumbai Suburban5,363
Aurangabad1,974
Nashik1,575
Raigad1,462
Palghar1,421
Solapur1,291
Jalgaon1,039
Akola757
Nagpur692
Kolhapur646
Satara629
Ratnagiri350
Amravati291
Dhule228
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Ahmednagar190
Nanded176
Yavatmal150
Sangli145
Latur139
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Buldhana88
Parbhani78
gondia69
Beed54
Nandurbar42
Gadchiroli42
Bhandara41
Chandrapur32
Washim13
Wardha11

20,06,354 2,697

45,093 1,053

19,10,521 3,694

50,740 56

DistrictCases
Udupi1,176
Kalaburagi669
Yadgir538
Bengaluru Urban529
Raichur369
Mandya346
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Hassan205
Davangere204
Vijayapura201
Dakshina Kannada179
Chikkaballapura149
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Uttara Kannada95
Shivamogga67
Dharwad61
Ballari60
Gadag45
Bengaluru Rural40
Tumakuru36
Kolar29
Haveri24
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Koppal5
Kodagu4
Ramanagara3
Chamarajanagara0

9,35,478 902

7,361 357

9,15,924 542

12,193 3

DistrictCases
Kurnool795
Krishna557
Guntur511
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Chittoor319
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Y.S.R.205
West Godavari199
Srikakulam183
Prakasam104
Visakhapatnam103
Vizianagaram23

8,86,852 158

1,473 15

8,78,232 172

7,147 1

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kasaragod333
Palakkad224
Malappuram119
Kollam118
Thrissur106
Thiruvananthapuram104
Pathanamthitta98
Kozhikode90
Alappuzha76
Kottayam73
Ernakulam60
Idukki40
Wayanad36

8,84,242 6,960

72,278 1,654

8,08,377 5,283

3,587 23

DistrictCases
Chennai23,324
Chengalpattu1,314
Thiruvallur774
Villupuram509
Kanchipuram503
Tiruvannamalai496
Cuddalore477
Ariyalur444
Tirunelveli433
Tuticorin333
Kallakurichi324
Madurai322
Salem258
Coimbatore188
Virudhunagar185
Dindigul175
Perambalur133
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Ramanathapuram119
Tiruppur116
Kanniyakumari110
Tenkasi103
Nagapattinam99
Karur88
Namakkal83
Erode75
Vellore71
Thiruvarur67
Pudukkottai53
Sivaganga46
Tirupathur45
Krishnagiri43
The Nilgiris17
Dharmapuri15

8,34,171 586

4,984 89

8,16,878 673

12,309 2

DistrictCases
North West5,463
Central4,817
West4,768
New Delhi3,405
North3,059
East2,472
South East2,446
South West2,391
South2,329
North East1,914
Shahdara1,580

6,33,739 197

1,880 180

6,21,060 367

10,799 10

DistrictCases
Gautam Buddha Nagar1,119
Agra933
Ghaziabad794
Meerut504
Lucknow386
Saharanpur298
Kanpur Nagar286
Moradabad252
Varanasi243
Hapur225
Aligarh215
Basti214
Amethi206
Rampur203
Jaunpur194
Firozabad190
Barabanki168
Gorakhpur166
Bulandshahr166
Siddharth Nagar159
Ghazipur159
Bijnor157
Deoria143
Azamgarh138
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Mathura129
Ayodhya120
Muzaffarnagar117
Sambhal116
Sultanpur97
Ambedkar Nagar92
Maharajganj85
Amroha80
Rae Bareli78
Bahraich73
Kheri72
Kannauj69
Baghpat68
Kushi Nagar67
Bhadohi60
Ballia60
Gonda59
Etah52
Hardoi49
Balrampur49
Mau48
Mainpuri46
Etawah46
Hathras43
Unnao42
Jalaun41
Jhansi41
Shamli40
Chandauli38
Auraiya37
Farrukhabad36
Sitapur32
Prayagraj30
Banda27
Shahjahanpur25
Shravasti23
Budaun23
Mirzapur22
Bareilly17
Kasganj16
Pratapgarh15
Pilibhit15
Sonbhadra10
Kaushambi6
Kanpur Dehat4
Chitrakoot4
Lalitpur3
Hamirpur3
Mahoba3
Fatehpur3

5,98,445 319

7,330 198

5,82,506 513

8,609 4

DistrictCases
Kolkata2,777
Howrah1,435
24 Paraganas North1,031
Hooghly604
24 Paraganas South281
Maldah235
Dinajpur Uttar216
Coochbehar210
Birbhum206
Medinipur West159
Medinipur East153
Nadia139
Purba Bardhaman130
Murshidabad125
Bankura116
Darjeeling97
Jalpaiguri88
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purulia66
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Alipurduar39
Kalimpong18
Jhargram9

5,67,714 410

6,396 74

5,51,211 474

10,107 10

DistrictCases
Ganjam581
Jajapur322
Khordha238
Baleshwar190
Kendrapara164
Cuttack155
Bhadrak137
Balangir129
Puri103
Sundargarh102
Jagatsinghapur91
Nayagarh86
Mayurbhanj73
Nuapada69
Gajapati61
Dhenkanal36
Boudh34
Kendujhar34
Deogarh33
Kalahandi33
Sonepur29
Kandhamal28
Anugul26
Malkangiri20
Bargarh16
Koraput16
Sambalpur16
Jharsuguda8
Nabarangpur2
Rayagada2

3,34,150 130

1,284 76

3,30,962 205

1,904 1

DistrictCases
Jaipur2,177
Jodhpur1,748
Udaipur724
Bharatpur563
Kota503
Nagaur500
Ajmer379
Dungarpur374
Pali352
Jhalawar329
Bhilwara250
Sikar231
Chittorgarh188
Tonk171
Jalore164
Rajsamand140
Sirohi130
Bikaner112
Banswara91
Alwar90
Churu81
Jhunjhunu64
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Baran59
Jaisalmer53
Barmer34
Hanumangarh31
SawaiMadhopur26
Karauli17
Pratapgarh14
Ganganagar8
Bundi5

3,16,485 203

3,448 271

3,10,279 472

2,758 2

DistrictCases
Bilaspur100
Korba100
Mungeli87
Baloda Bazar85
Jashpur77
Janjgir-Champa56
Mahasamund54
Rajnandgaon52
Kabirdham52
Raigarh47
Raipur46
Balod41
Korea39
Durg31
Bemetara21
Kanker19
Balrampur17
Surguja14
Gariyaband10
Surajpur9
Dhamtari6
Bijapur2
Bastar2
Dantewada0
Kondagaon0
Narayanpur0
Sukma0

2,96,326 377

5,040 268

2,87,677 637

3,609 8

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2,475
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Jagitial77
Nizamabad76
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Mancherial43
YadadriBhuvanagiri40
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Vikarabad40
Nalgonda33
Warangal Urban32
Mahabubnagar30
Sangareddy26
Khammam26
Adilabad22
Nirmal21
Karimnagar17
RajannaSircilla16
Medak11
Kamareddy11
Mahabubabad10
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Nagarkurnool8
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Jangoan8
Siddipet7
Peddapalli5
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Warangal Rural4
Mulugu3
Narayanpet3
Wanaparthy1

2,93,253 197

3,389 180

2,88,275 376

1,589 1

DistrictCases
Gurugram2,950
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Rohtak145
Palwal120
Jhajjar114
Karnal104
Hisar98
Ambala93
Panipat78
Nuh68
Bhiwani60
Rewari56
Kurukshetra55
Sirsa50
Kaithal48
Mahendragarh47
CharkiDadri43
Panchkula39
Fatehabad38
Jind38
Yamunanagar19

2,67,075 136

1,559 26

2,62,507 158

3,009 4

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17,125
Surat2,311
Vadodara1,555
Gandhinagar410
Mahesana159
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Rajkot135
Arvalli134
Mahisagar125
Anand107
PanchMahals107
Patan105
SabarKantha101
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Jamnagar63
Bharuch56
Botad55
Surendranagar55
Valsad47
GirSomnath45
Dohad43
Chhotaudepur37
Naysari35
Junagadh31
Narmada25
DevbhumiDwarka22
Amreli16
Porbandar11
Tapi6
Dang5
Morbi4

2,58,687 423

4,960 280

2,49,352 702

4,375 1

DistrictCases
Patna279
Bhagalpur266
Rohtas256
Khagaria253
Begusarai243
Madhubani199
Munger188
Jehanabad178
Katihar175
Darbhanga143
Samastipur139
Siwan139
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Banka134
Buxar134
Nalanda123
Gopalganj123
Nawada122
Sheikhpura118
Gaya115
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Bhojpur103
Saran101
Muzaffarpur96
Saharsa88
Supaul87
Vaishali87
Madhepura82
Kishanganj75
Aurangabad75
Sitamarhi73
Lakhisarai72
Araria68
Pashchim Champaran57
Arwal52
Jamui47
Sheohar20

2,58,638 125

2,599 83

2,54,563 204

1,476 4

DistrictCases
Indore3,839
Bhopal1,880
Ujjain799
Burhanpur351
Neemuch319
Jabalpur276
East Nimar266
Sagar228
Gwalior211
Khargone196
Dewas140
Dhar132
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Bhind87
Raisen71
Barwani60
Ratlam51
Rewa39
Shajapur39
Hoshangabad37
Vidisha37
Chhatarpur35
Betul35
Rajgarh31
Dindori29
Sheopur26
Damoh26
Satna24
Anuppur22
Panna20
Tikamgarh18
Sidhi17
Narsinghpur17
Chhindwara16
Agar Malwa15
Mandla15
Shivpuri15
Jhabua14
Shandol14
Singrauli13
Ashoknagar13
Datia12
Sehore12
Umaria10
Balaghat9
Guna8
Harda4
Alirajpur3
Katni3
Seoni2
Niwari0

2,53,405 291

4,310 169

2,45,309 454

3,786 6

DistrictCases
Kamrup Metro276
Golaghat203
Nagaon143
Hojai89
Dima Hasao86
Karimganj85
Tinsukia84
Cachar80
Dibrugarh61
Hailakandi57
Lakhimpur57
Marigaon50
Dhemaji47
Kamrup42
Kokrajhar37
Dhubri30
Charaideo29
Barpeta28
Udalguri28
Sonitpur27
Jorhat24
Nalbari23
Darrang20
Sivasagar20
Goalpara19
Biswanath16
Baksa14
KarbiAnglong13
Bongaigaon12
Chirang6
West KarbiAnglong5
South SalmaraMancachar4
Majuli2

2,16,976 19

2,407 75

2,13,492 94

1,077

DistrictCases
Amritsar485
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Tarn Taran163
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
S.A.S Nagar137
Patiala132
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Pathankot86
Rupnagar (Ropar)74
Faridkot74
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Moga65
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Firozepur50
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Barnala25

1,71,733 211

2,293 31

1,63,887 232

5,553 10

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Srinagar300
Kulgam295
Baramulla271
Shopian255
Kupwara231
Bandipora175
Udhampur155
Ramban151
Jammu138
Budgam110
Pulwama108
Kathua53
Rajouri39
Ganderbal37
Poonch35
Doda27
Reasi26
Samba25
Kishtwar10
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0

1,23,946 94

1,103 5

1,20,914 88

1,929 1

DistrictCases
East Singhbum170
Ranchi148
Hazaribagh110
Garhwa80
Ramgarh75
Koderma58
Simdega48
Dhanbad32
Gumla28
Palamu27
West Singhbhum21
SaraikelaKharsawan20
Giridih19
Bokaro16
Latehar14
Khunti10
Lohardaga8
Deoghar5
Dumka5
Pakur4
Jamtara2
Godda2
Chatra1
Sahebganj0

1,18,232 78

878 100

1,16,293 177

1,061 1

DistrictCases
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Tehri Garhwal110
Haridwar94
Udam Singh Nagar83
Almora71
Champawat45
Pithoragarh43
Chamoli36
PauriGarhwal36
Bageshwar31
Rudraprayag30
Uttar Kashi24

95,586 122

1,733 62

92,224 184

1,629

DistrictCases
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Una41
Solan32
Chamba29
Bilaspur21
Mandi21
Sirmaur11
Shimla10
Kullu4
Kinnaur2
Lahaul And Spiti0

57,189 27

469 47

55,749 73

971 1

DistrictCases
South Goa69
North Goa57

52,867 85

873 19

51,233 63

761 3

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Mahe4
Karaikal2
Yanam0

38,830 36

302 8

37,884 27

644 1

DistrictCases
Dhalai196
Sepahijala174
Gomati74
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45
Khowai24
North Tripura14

33,345 1

35 1

32,919

391

DistrictCases
Churachandpur32
Kangpokpi26
Imphal West21
Thoubal18
Imphal East10
Tengnoupal9
Bishnupur7
Senapati6
Chandel5
Kamjong5
Ukhrul4
Jiribam3
Pherzawl3
Kakching2
Tamenglong2
Noney1

28,970 17

196 1

28,405 18

369

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

20,686 22

127 10

20,226 31

333 1

DistrictCases
Changlang31
Papum Pare8
Lohit3
Namsai2
West Siang1
East Siang1
Upper Siang1
Tawang1
PakkeKessang1
West Kameng0
Upper Subansiri0
Tirap0
Siang0
Shi Yomi0
Anjaw0
Lower Subansiri0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Longding0
Leparada0
KurungKumey0
KraDaadi0
Kamle0
East Kameng0
Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0

16,818 1

37 0

16,725 1

56

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
West Garo Hills5
South West Garo Hills4
North Garo Hills1
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Khasi Hills0

13,727 4

122 6

13,459 10

146

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Mon8
Kohima7
Kiphire3
Tuensang3
Peren2
Phek1
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

12,076 4

104 0

11,884 4

88

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

9,675 2

62 6

9,484 8

129

DistrictCases
East District3
South District3
North District0
West District0

6,068 5

134 6

5,802 10

132 1

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

4,993 1

24 1

4,907

62

DistrictCases
Kolasib11
Aizawl10
Mamit8
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Saitual1
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Saiha0
Serchhip0

4,351 2

58 0

4,284 2

9

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

3,394

10 0

3,382

2

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

57 7

57 7

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Study Sheds More Light On Role Played By Immune System’s T Cells Against Coronavirus

According to researchers, while antibodies offer one mode of protection against pathogens, the cells of the immune system, including the CD8+ T cells are responsible for destroying virus-infected host cells