No ''mutant

Rafia Haider

KARACHI, Nov 26 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Dr. Faisal Sultan clarified on Thursday that at present there was no evidence that coronavirus has undergone a mutation giving it an additional virulence.

Responding to APP queries he strongly dispelled the misconceptions about the mutant strain in the country and stressed that all viruses mutate with time and therefore it was nothing unusual.

An official of the Ministry of Health said, “We dont have any evidence that the virus has mutated and is undetectable in the PCR test. Every single medical test has level of certainty. PCR is the most accurate test on Covid. We have no scientific evidence the virus has mutated nor do we have any evidence that its mode of transmission has changed.”

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“We do have an evolving trend and the spread is dependent on multiple factors. The notion that the virus has mutated to a level that its is very different, there is no scientific evidence,” he said.

A federal health ministry’s official contacted by APP via phone said “there is no evidence that virus mutation can not be detected through PCR nor do we have evidence that transmission of the virus changes it strain.

Dr. Zahra Hasan a member of the Medical Microbiology and Infectious Society of Pakistan (MMIDSP) elaborating it further told APP that robust diagnostic tests are designed to detect multiple target sites so that random point mutations do not affect their sensitivity.

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“Robust PCR tests have at least two target genes and that way you should not miss diagnosing the target just because you may sequence variations in one target or other,” she said.

“We do not have any clinical evidence that mutations are causing different disease it’s still speculation,” said Dr. Hasan also a professor at Aga Khan Uniiversity.

She reiterated that “Genome Sequencing” was ongoing and it wouldhelp us understand the strain diversity and disease associated with with the strains adding that people must continue to strictly adhere to SOPs and help contain the spread of the Covid-19 as well as flu in the country.