Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said people who have recovered from Covid-19 infection could be reinfected with the new mutated strain of Coronavirus found in the United Kingdom.
“Those who have got Covid-19 could get sick again with the new variant,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued this afternoon.
The new mutated virus strain has surfaced in United Kingdom and is spreading to other countries.
Dr Nisar said the new variant has multiple mutations in its spike protein “and the most troubling is deletion mutation which makes it spread more easily”.
Quoting a new study published in the preprint server bioRxiv, Dr Nisar said that antibodies elicited by natural Covid-19 infection may not be able to neutralize emerging strains that display deletion mutations in their genetic sequence.
Dr Nisar said researchers from South Korea found that a young woman infected with one strain of Coronavirus was, just weeks after recovering, and then reinfected with a different strain of the virus.
The DAK President said the findings indicate that the patient’s immune response to the first strain did not protect her from the second strain and highlights how mutations could make controlling Covid-19 more difficult than first thought.
He further said the mutation in the new variant has resulted in an altered protein product which could evade the immune response elicited by earlier strain of the same virus.
“The new strain could lead to resurgence of Covid-19 cases that could reignite the pandemic,” he warned.
As per Dr Nisar, the mutated variant is the dominant strain in UK and is responsible for more than 60 percent of Covid-19 cases.
“While we struggle to come to grips with the news of new strain of coronavirus being detected in UK, another variant of the virus, potentially more infectious has emerged in South Africa,” said Dr Nisar.
He said that Kashmir being the favorite tourist destination, the mutant Coronavirus could spread into the region through tourists.
“We have to be prepared and alert – we need to gear up our hospitals to prevent an outbreak,” he added.(GNS)