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Non-judicious use of therapies for COVID-19 leads to virus mutations: ICMR chief

ANI | Updated: Dec 29, 2020 20:05 IST

By Priyanka Sharma
New Delhi [India], December 29 (ANI): Non-judicious use of therapies that have not been established for COVID-19 treatment are responsible for putting "immune pressure on virus" and leads to virus mutations, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday.
"Those therapies which are being touted as 'anti-viral' or 'anti-COVID therapies' and they have do not have benefits established in a scientific research paper, those therapies should not be used as they will put tremendous immune pressure on the virus and it will tend to mutate more, Dr Bhargava told ANI.
Speaking in the context of UK COVID virus strain mutation, Dr Bhargava said genetic mutations occur in the respiratory viruses but higher transmissibility is a point of concern.

"Genetic mutations occur in the respiratory viruses and these minor drifts may occur from time to time but once several drifts occur it has higher transmissibility rate as it happened in the United Kingdom. So that is a point of concern although we are testing in India for virus variants regularly."
He said immune pressure on the virus may be related to the environment and is more related to the treatment, or other modalities which cause this immune pressure on the virus.
"So it is important for our scientific community also that we do not put too much immune pressure on the virus and we have to maintain the judicious use of therapies which are going to benefit. If the benefit is not established, we should not use those therapies. Otherwise, they will put tremendous immune pressure on the virus and it will tend to mutate more," he said, noting that well-established therapies should be used.
He said the experts will be looking at data.
"The vaccines that are the front-runners are targeting the S- protein and also targeting the M- RNA but we find that they will continue to be effective. We have to be very careful to look for any immunity breakthrough that may happen by vaccination," he said. (ANI)