New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The mutated strain of SARS-CoV-2, first found in the British region of Kent, will likely "Sweep the world" and undermine the vaccines developed to contain the virus's spread, a top British scientist has warned.

Sharon Peacock, director of the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium, told BBC that the world's battle against coronavirus could go on for at least a decade. The virus has already killed 2.35 million people, besides disrupting economic activities and soaring unemployment rates world over. 

"Once we get on top of (the virus) or it mutates itself out of being virulent -- causing disease -- then we can stop worrying about it. But I think, looking in the future, we're going to be doing this for years. We're still going to be doing this 10 years down the line, in my view," Peacock said, as quoted in a report by Reuters. 

The mutated variant was first found in Kent in September, 2020 and has since then has spread to over 70 countries, including India. The mutation has been designated as a 'Variant of Concern' by the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group. 

Peakock believes that while the vaccines are so far effective against the Kant strain, the further mutations of this variant could potentially undermine the shots. The vaccines developed Oxford-Astrazeneca and Pfizer have proved to be effective against the Kant strain. 

"What's concerning about this is that the 1.1.7 variant that we have had circulating for some weeks and months is beginning to mutate again and get new mutations which could affect the way that we handle the virus in terms of immunity and effectiveness of vaccines," she said. 

Currently, three major variants of SARS-CoV-2 are concerning the scientists world over: The Kent variant, known as 201/501Y.V1 or B.1.1.7; the Brazilian variant known as P.1, and the South African Variant, known by scientists as 201/501Y.V2 or B.1.351. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja