New Coronavirus Strain Detected In Karachi As Another 55 Lose Battle To The Deadly Virus
The new strain of the virus is present in Pakistan according to the authorities, although no flights from or to the UK are in operation. On Tuesday, a patient from Karachi had the highly contagious strain of the coronavirus.
The patient has a travel history to the UK and further investigation is underway. As the federal government has no plans to impose a total lockdown, the number of daily cases is still climbing.
— Ministry of National Health Services, Pakistan (@nhsrcofficial) December 30, 2020
The virus was detected as the respective provincial and central health departments are running checks on UK returnees.
Unsurprisingly, Karachi, with the highest population and population per sq. km. is the worst-hit by the pandemic.
“Twelve samples of UK returnees were taken for genotyping out of which six were positive and three showed the new variant of the virus in the first phase,” the Sindh provincial ministry of health said in a statement on Twitter.
“The genotyping showed 95 percent match of the new variant from the UK. These samples will go through another phase of genotyping,” it added.
“The contact tracing of these patients is in process and their contacts are we are isolating them” the statement from the ministry added.
Pakistan has already banned all UK flights following the emergence of the variant virus.
Several other countries have taken similar measures. However, there is yet no evidence that suggests the mutation is more deadly.
High Transmission Rate
The World Health Organisation is “in close contact with UK officials on the new #COVID19 virus variant” and promises to update governments and the public as they will learn more according to senior officials.
In the meanwhile, the WHO has provided guidelines in an official tweet.
17/While we work to better understand #SARSCoV2 variants, we should be guided by the local epidemiology and capacities to respond.
— Maria Van Kerkhove (@mvankerkhove) December 27, 2020
The new strain was first found in southeastern England in September. Since then it has been spreading in the area ever since, according to Britain’s national media agency BBC.
“What we understand is that it does have increased transmissibility, in terms of its ability to spread,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s the technical lead on Covid-19.
Viruses mutate a lot, and scientists have found thousands of different mutations among samples of the virus. Many of these changes have no effect on how easily the virus spreads or how severe the symptoms are except the new UK variant.
The new SARS-CoV-2 variant, later given ID B.1.1.7, was first discovered in the United Kingdom and appears to spread faster than others, according to experts. Researchers believe it may have originated in an immunocompromised patient who had a long-running infection.
The new variant has changes in its protein sequence that help it evade the immune system and theoretically make it twice as infectious.