New Delhi:  The new strain of coronavirus discovered in Britain is not yet out of control and can be contained using existing measures, the World Health Organization said as several countries suspend flights to and from the UK and shut their borders to combat the spread. “We have had a much higher (contamination rate) at different points in this pandemic and we’ve got it under control,” WHO’s emergencies chief Michael Ryan asserted. Also Read - No New UK Coronavirus Strain Reported in Past 24 Hours in India: Health Ministry

The WHO official stated that the measures that are currently in place are correct. “In some senses, it means we have to work harder,” Ryan said, adding, “even if the virus has become a little bit more efficient in spreading, the virus can be stopped.” Also Read - Experts From WHO to Visit China on Thursday to Examine Coronavirus Outbreak

Meanwhile, the WHO’s Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan claimed that the mutant strain may already be present in many countries. “I suspect that as more countries look at their data, they might find this variant, or a related variant, might already be there”, she told NDTV. Also Read - 2 Kashmiris Carrying UK Coronavirus Strain Found in Srinagar

“The UK is one of those countries that is doing a lot of whole genome sequencing and is therefore able to track this very closely in real time,” Swaminathan stated.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week said a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains appeared to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England in recent weeks. But he stressed “there’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” or that vaccines will be less effective against it.

COVID vaccine equally effective against the new mutant of the virus

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Director General Shekhar Mande said that the coronavirus vaccines will be equally effective against the new mutant of the virus and there is no reason to panic. He said the transmissibility of the new strain N501Y is a “bit higher” but this does not mean it is more lethal and more people are going to die due to it.

“It is likely that there will be differences between certain aspects like anti-bodies but it doesn’t necessarily mean that vaccines will be ineffective. Vaccines will be equally effective despite the mutation. So there is no reason to panic,” Mande told PTI.

The CSIR’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad have alone done sequencing of over 2,200 genome sequences of coronavirus in India.