The spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19 means that we must ensure we continue to exercise caution despite lockdown guidelines beginning to lift. This variant seems to be more transmissible which has led to a rise in cases and hospitalisations across the country – particularly in the Lancashire area.
However, the majority of those hospitalised with the Indian variant of the virus have not had a Covid vaccination, so whilst the vaccine does not ensure complete immunity, it remains the greatest tool we have in remaining safe and may possibly have prevented some of these cases. Therefore, when you become eligible, it is essential that you get vaccinated to help protect yourself and prevent the further spread of the variant.
The Pfizer and AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines have been found to be highly effective against the Indian variant at stopping symptomatic disease following the second dose of the vaccine compared with only one dose. It is therefore important that when you receive your Covid vaccine, that you have both doses.
You can find more information on Covid vaccinations here
It is also essential that we maintain strict social distancing when possible, remember to use a mask at all times, sanitise and follow the latest government guidelines. As indoor spaces continue opening up, try to avoid large crowds and if you’re meeting with friends, meet outdoors if possible. It is also advised, when meeting with groups from separate households, to carry out a home Covid test to help protect against the spread of Covid-19.
Is the Indian variant more deadly?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that the new variant is more likely to lead to a serious illness or an increased risk of death compared to the original variant that started the pandemic, however it does appear to be more transmissible.
What are the symptoms of the Indian variant?
The symptoms of the Indian variant are the same as the initial variant of coronavirus that was first identified in China. The key symptoms of coronavirus are described here.
Other variants previously found in the UK
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is continuously assessed for new variants and checked to see if these variants make any changes to the transmissibility, symptoms, and severity of the virus. There have already been thousands of mutations to SARS-CoV-2, but these are mostly insignificant. Only a small minority of mutations are significant enough to change the virus enough to impact us.
Viruses naturally mutate and it’s a normal part of a virus’ life cycle. Previous variants of coronavirus that were in the UK had originated from South Africa and Brazil.
Can tests detect the new variant?
Yes, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are able to detect this new variant. You can find more information on Covid testing here