COVID 2nd wave: Kashmir doctors’ body call for ‘mutant virus’ testing

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As Covid-19 records spike again in Kashmir, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday called for genetic testing of Covid-19 positive samples to look for any mutated strain of the virus that could be responsible for resurgence of cases in the valley.

“We were witnessing a decline in cases couple of weeks ago, and all of a sudden with the same behavior among people a fresh wave of Covid-19 has erupted in the valley which could be because of a mutant,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.

“Genetic testing would not only detect the known mutants that might have sneaked into the valley, but also check whether any mutant has emerged within the region.”

“Picking up mutants is key to formulate appropriate and effective healthy policy that would help prevent and control their spread in the community,” DAK President said.

“Covid-19 has a tendency to mutate, which can change the behavior of the virus and make it more infectious, and even more deadlier.”

“Since the outbreak, multiple mutated versions of the coronavirus have emerged that differ from the original strain,” he said.

“The three foreign strains – UK, South African and Brazilian that have found their way into India spread more easily and research is underway if they can cause more serious disease.”

“Recently, a double mutant strain has been found in Maharashtra that has raised concern because its presence has been detected at a time when cases are rising in the state,” Dr Nisar said.

“There is a surge in Covid cases in Kashmir over the past two weeks and hospitalizations have increased too.”

“Children who were largely spared in the first wave are getting infected now in large numbers which is because schools have started functioning,” he said.

“Though children get mild disease, they can spread the virus to others and cause community transmission.”

“As the virus spreads, higher are chances of mutations and new strains to come up, so it is important to vaccinate as many people as possible that too quickly to break the chain of transmission and leave less scope for the virus to mutate,” said Dr Nisar.(GNS)

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