The World Health Organisation, in an online briefing on Monday, stated that the new highly contagious strain of coronavirus that is circulating in Britain is a part of the normal evolution of a pandemic.
WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan told media: “We have to find a balance. It’s very important to have transparency, it’s very important to tell the public the way it is, but it’s also important to get across that this is a normal part of virus evolution.”
During the briefing, the WHO talked about the newly emerged strain of the virus, especially in Britain and South Africa, that has prompted the country to close its border and implement stricter restrictions.
Ryan added: “Being able to track a virus this closely, this carefully, this scientifically in real-time is a real positive development for global public health, and the countries doing this type of surveillance should be commended.”
WHO officials maintained that they had found no evidence that the variant made people sicker or was more deadly than existing strains of Covid-19. However, it seems to be more contagious than the previous strain.
Ryan added: “That is prudent. But it is also important that everyone recognises that this happens, these variants occur.”
“So far, even though we have seen a number of changes, a number of mutations, none has made a significant impact on either the susceptibility of the virus to any of the currently used therapeutics, drugs or the vaccines under development and one hopes that will continue to be the case,” WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan told the briefing.
In a recent interview, Maria Van Kerkhove, an American infectious disease epidemiologist, told CNN that the reproduction rate of the new variant has risen from 1.1 to 1.5. She stated that the new variant, however, has made no impact on the vaccine or vaccination process.
“We do not anticipate any impact on the vaccine and the vaccination,” Kerkhove said.