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Tanzanian experts warn of the deadly Indian Covid-19 variant

Friday May 07 2021
India pic
By Herieth Makwetta

Dar es Salaam. Scientists have said a new variant of the coronavirus known as ‘double mutant’ or B.1.617 variant discovered in India is linked to two mutations that come together from the same virus.

The double mutant, which is a deadly second wave to have hit India, has caused more than 21 million cases and 230,168 deaths as of yesterday.

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Dr Joel Manyahi, a microbiological expert at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science (Muhas), said the new virus has the habit of changing its gene structure.

“The new virus changes itself and partially takes other gene cells to become a bit whitish or fade and it harbours in a human beings or animals.

“It has the habit of using proteins and partially mutates from its origin. For example, it changes from A to B and from B to C, increasing viruses that could spread more rapidly,” said Dr Manyahi.

A virologist in India, Dr Shahid Jameel, said such a situation causes two changes in meeting in one virus, adding that it could increase more infections or a human body could be affected by a vaccine.

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As the scientists make studies on the new variant of the coronavirus that causes deaths in India, health experts in the country have given precautions and different techniques that would help to avoid the new deadly variant.

Doctors in the country have asked the government to push for social distancing, increase testing while capable institutions should be allowed to provide testing services and emergency hospitals with enough oxygen should be prepared.

The doctors have warned that Tanzania is supposed to be keen and learn a lesson from India that has been hit hard by a wave of the coronavirus.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is yet to announce whether the new double mutant discovered in India is dangerous as it did with the variants found in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

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