A constant vigil: On the new coronavirus strain in India

Constant monitoring is the only way India can build up its defences against new virus strains

That India has formed a consortium of leading genomics labs to make genome surveillance a routine continuous exercise is to be welcomed. With 2021 likely to be the year of the vaccine, with a rollout at an unprecedented scale, scientists have already warned that it is possible that some virus strains, or escape mutants, may change enough to evade the vaccine’s immune response — as observed in the case of hepatitis B. Therefore, continuous monitoring and developing suitable detection kits are the only way India can shore up its defences against this pandemic and those of the future.

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