Chandigarh, May 16
The PGI today confirmed that the double mutant (B.1.617) variant was behind the second Covid wave in the region. The fact came to the fore after the reports on the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 for samples sent by the PGI were received from the National Centre for Disease Control (NSDC), New Delhi.
“Reports on the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 for 23 nasopharyngeal swab samples of Covid-19 patients sent from PGIMER, Chandigarh, were received on May 13 from the NCDC. The presence of the double mutant (B.1.617) variant having the signature mutations L452R and E484Q has been confirmed in 22 per cent (5/23) of the samples,” said Prof Jagat Ram, Director, PGI.
The Director further stated that the B.1.617 variant first identified in India last year has been found in more than 40 countries and has recently been classified as a “variant of concern” (VOC) by the World Health Organisation (WHO). It has been found by researchers that the mutations in the strain render it to be more transmissible and vaccine-induced antibodies are somewhat less potent in neutralising this variant.
“The surge of cases during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic could somewhat be attributed to the B.1.617 variant,” added Prof Jagat Ram.
Detailing further on the findings, the PGI Director said: “Of the other samples, the UK variant (B.1.1.7), which is also a VOC, was found in 39 per cent (9/23) samples. The UK variant carries the signature mutations N501Y, P681H, 69/70 Del. The rest of the samples carry the P681R mutation in the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.” — TNS
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