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Coronavirus | WHO calls meeting on new virus variant

The World Health Organization (WHO) will convene a meeting of members to discuss strategies to counter a new, more infectious coronavirus strain that emerged in Britain, its European chief said on Tuesday. He did not give a date for the meeting.

“Limiting travel to contain spread is prudent until we have better info. Supply chains for essential goods & essential travel should remain possible,” WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge said on Twitter, urging increased preventive measures.

The WHO cautioned against major alarm over the variant, saying it was a normal part of a pandemic’s evolution. It also praised Britain for detecting it.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Geneva-based body repeated that there was not yet enough information to determine whether the new variant could affect vaccine efficacy, saying researching was ongoing.

Meanwhile, Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Incare said they are testing their COVID-19 vaccines against the new, fast-spreading version of the virus, CNN reported on Tuesday.

Moderna expects immunity from its vaccine to protect against the variant and is performing more tests in the coming weeks to confirm, the company said in a statement to CNN.

Pfizer said it is “generating data” on how well blood samples from people immunised with its vaccine “may be able to neutralize the new strain from the UK”, according to the report.

Pfizer and Moderna did not immediately respond to Reuters’s requests for comment.

The main worry is that the new variant is 40%-70% more transmissible.

Scientists have said there is no evidence that vaccines currently being deployed in the United Kingdom — made by Pfizerand BioNTech — or other COVID-19 shots in development, will not protect against this variant, known as the B.1.1.7 lineage.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 11:54:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/coronavirus-who-calls-meeting-on-new-virus-variant/article33396944.ece

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