‘No change needed in treatment protocol’, says Covid task force after discussions on new strain

It was emphasised at the meeting of the task force that since the UK variant strain is implicated to cause increased transmissibility of the virus, it is critical to identify individuals infected with this strain and adequately contain them to prevent its transmission in India.
Healthcare workers in PPE coveralls collect swab samples for Covid-19 test at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in New Delhi, on Saturday.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Healthcare workers in PPE coveralls collect swab samples for Covid-19 test at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in New Delhi, on Saturday.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 27, 2020 09:17 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by: Amit Chaturvedi

The national task force (NTF), formed by the government to organise and facilitate Covid-19 containment efforts in India, has said that there is no need to change the existing treatment protocol in view of mutations emerging in the United Kingdom.

A meeting of the NTF was held on Saturday where discussions were held on evidence-based modifications in testing, and treatment and surveillance strategies for Sars-CoV-2 virus. The meeting was convened by the Indian Council of Meical Research (ICMR) under co-chairpersonship of Dr Vinod Paul, Member NITI Aayog and Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Director General ICMR.

It was emphasised that since the UK variant strain is implicated to cause increased transmissibility of the virus, it is critical to identify individuals infected with this strain and adequately contain them to prevent its transmission in India.

The NTF concluded that there is no need to change the existing treatment protocol in view of mutations emerging in the strain.

The Union health ministry, which took into consideration the recommendations of the NTF, said that since ICMR has always advocated the use of two or more gene assays for testing Sars-CoV-2, it is unlikely to miss infected cases using the current testing strategy.

“It is proposed to continue enhanced genomic surveillance for early detection and containment of the UK variant SARS-CoV-2 strains. However, it is important to understand that like all other RNA viruses, SARS-CoV-2 will continue to mutate,” the ministry said.

The mutated virus can also be contained by measures like social distancing, hand hygiene, wearing masks and also by an effective vaccine, as and when available, it further said.

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