Ukrainian scientists say Indian strain of COVID-19 less dangerous than British
The Indian strain of coronavirus, which causes COVID-19 disease, is less dangerous than the British strain of coronavirus, experts at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine say.
"In our opinion, the British strain of the coronavirus is much more dangerous than the 'Indian', which has spread widely across Europe and Ukraine," Director of the Institute Mykhailo Tukalo told Interfax-Ukraine, referring to the results of a study of the Indian strain by the Institute's specialists.
Tukalo noted that the Indian strain has a new combination of mutations that are dangerous in terms of infectious properties, which were previously separately identified in different strains of the coronavirus.
"Thanks to these mutations, the virus penetrates into human cells faster. The genome of the Indian strain has about 25 mutations compared to the reference Wuhan strain," he said.
The scientist recalled that another dangerous strain of the coronavirus, South African, has already been discovered in Ukraine, regarding which "the facts of the action of existing vaccines are not encouraging." Moreover, the Indian strain has a mutation similar to the South African one.
The expert noted that the Indian strain has not been found in Ukraine yet, but has already been recorded in more than 20 countries around the world.
"Perhaps, this strain has not reached our country yet, but perhaps the reason is that very little sequencing is carried out in Ukraine - the study of mutations by decoding the virus genome sequence. Of course, it is necessary to establish constant monitoring and research of coronavirus strains," he said.
Tukalo stressed that "the study of mutations will allow both to prevent new waves of the disease and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment, as well as to understand the need to develop and use existing or new vaccines and the introduction of anti-epidemic measures to avoid the spread of dangerous strains."
"Our institute has a successful track record of sequencing coronaviruses," he said.
According to the world database GISAID, the "Indian" strain of coronavirus was detected by sequencing in more than 1,500 samples.
As reported, the PRC health authorities have recorded the "Indian" strain of the coronavirus COVID-19 in several cities in China.