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Covid vaccine will work against Indian variant – Boris urged to continue easing lockdown | UK | New UK News

The government is now being urged to “keep its nerves” and continue to ease restrictions. Fears about Covid variants have been dismissed as “alarmist” and “pessimistic” by experts because no strain to date has significantly avoided the vaccine or the immune system. New variants are happening all the time and the vaccines being deployed will prevent serious illnesses, it has been argued.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that the Indian variant could cause a “serious disruption” to the easing of the lockdown on June 21 after modeling data suggested it may be more transmissible.

Experts recommended a cautious approach, warning that current vaccines may be less effective at preventing mild cases or reducing the spread of the Indian variant.

However, Professor Anthony Brookes of the University of Leicester said that all known strains of Covid-19 differ only marginally at the genetic level and that just because a variant is spreading faster in a country does not mean that ‘she would behave the same in another.

Instead, the environment and behavior have as much of an impact on which strains spread and become dominant over others, he said.

He said: “Recent government statements on the Indian variant may well be seen as both pessimistic and alarmist.”

“There will be a constant churn rate in which strains do best at different times and places – exactly as we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic.

“These gradual changes occur as the virus evolves and are really not large enough to make the immune system completely unable to recognize them.

“The Indian variant may or may not have a small transmission advantage over the predominant ‘Kent’ strain in the current UK context, but the data is not particularly troubling.

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“It doesn’t change the way vaccines work, which is to prevent serious infections by keeping the risk of Covid comparable to other respiratory viruses we already live with.”

Professor Anthony Harnden, vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), said vaccines would lessen the impact, but called for caution as the lockdown recovers.

He added that vaccines may be less effective in stopping transmission of the new strain.

He said: “I think the vaccines will help stop the spread of this virus, but we have to be vigilant and we just have to see what happens over the next few weeks.”

He said the situation was different from January because we now have a “highly vaccinated population”.

However, he added that vaccines “may be less effective against mild illnesses, but we don’t think they’re less effective against serious illnesses.”

“But in addition to being less effective against mild disease, they are almost certainly less effective against transmission.”

Sir Mark Walport of Sage said the Prime Minister was “right to be very concerned about what was going on”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The race between the virus and vaccination has just intensified and there is a high degree of scientific confidence that this new variant is up to 50% more transmissible than the previous B117 variant.

“So, if you will, the edge of the knife that the race rests on has just been sharpened.”

He added that people shouldn’t stop taking precautions even after vaccinations and said, “Just because someone can do something doesn’t mean we should be doing it.

“So if possible, if we can take advantage of the fresh air and meet people outside, that makes a lot of sense.”

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This notice was published: 2021-05-15 20:00:00