MUMBAI: The Maharashtra health department on Friday clarified that no foreign variant of the novel coronavirus has so far been found in the emerging Covid hotspots of Amravati and Yavatmal in the state.
A detailed report with a second round of genome sequencing is likely next week, said state officials. The state government has started a special surveillance in which random Covid-19 positive samples are sent for genomic sequencing to ascertain the mutations and variants in circulation in various areas.
“The number of coronavirus patients has been on the rise since last week in some districts of the states like Amravati, Yavatmal, Satara and Pune. Every effort is being made to find out the reasons for this increase,” said a statement released by the public health department. The study will also ascertain whether there is any change in the genetic make-up of the coronavirus in the areas. The initial genome sequencing showed that four samples from Amravati had E484Q mutation, while four samples from Yavatmal had the N4400K mutation that is associated with Andhra.
The novel coronavirus is perhaps the first infectious organism in recent times to morph into thousands of its variants across the globe.A team of scientists from Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) have found 7,569 variants in circulation in the country alone. This is despite the fact that not enough samples are sequenced in the country. “The variants that are worrying many countries globally have been identified with only a low prevalence in India so far,” said Dr Rakesh Mishra, director, CCMB.