Indian Covid mutation may ‘resist vaccine and scupper roadmap out of lockdown’

The Indian strain of Covid-19 may resist vaccines and “scupper the UK’s escape plan” out of lockdown, according to a top scientist.

This comes after 77 cases of the B.1.617 variant, first discovered in India, were found in the UK. 

Professor Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, says he “suspected” the Indian Covid strain would be escalated to a “variant of concern” as it could be evasive to any of our vaccines.

He told BBC Radio 4: “I think we should be terribly concerned about it.

“They (variants of concern) are things that can most scupper our escape plan at the moment and give us a third wave. They are a worry.”

He also said he found it “mystifying” that India was not on the UK’s “red-list” of countries already, which means that people arriving from “red list” countries are subject to a hotel quarantine.

However, officials have currently listed it as a “variant under investigation”, and not a variant of concern.

In India, Covid-19 rates have been soaring with over 174,000 deaths and 14 million confirmed cases. Professor Altmann added that the Indian variant is being seen in a high proportion of positive cases in India.