Coronavirus: Double mutant is the most common COVID variant in India, as per India’s genome data

India’s genome data submitted by the Indian scientists to a global database has found that the double mutation coronavirus – B.1.617 – is now the most common sample sequenced before April 2 at 24 per cent.

The second most prevalent variant is the UK variant, or B.1.1.7, at 13% of the samples, as per the assessment by scientists from Scripps Research.

However, the researchers at noted that this data may not show the exact prevalence pattern of the variants. “SARS-CoV-2 (hCoV-19) sequencing is not a random sample of mutations. As a result, this report does not indicate the true prevalence of the mutations but rather our best estimate now,” they clarify.

According to Anurag Agarwal, director, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, one of the ten labs under Insacog., “Nearly 60 to 80% of the samples from Maharashtra have the variant; the prevalence must be similar in Gujarat. Elsewhere, it is under 10 to 20%. From barely existing in December, it is now found pretty much everywhere we look. We have a separate column for the variant for every state now.”

“We have a fairly good idea about which mutated variant is prevalent where; but the important thing is all of them are increasing,” he elaborated.

He added by saying, “The B.1.617 variant is prevalent towards the West in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The B.1.1.7 variant is prevalent in the North in Punjab. In South India, the one with N440K mutation is prevalent but that seems to be quiet. Eventually, one of the other variants will reach there. And, in the East, we do not have a particular variant but the South African variant is fairly common in Bangladesh, causing almost 80% of the cases so that might cross over to India. That will be troublesome for the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

According to the report, the B.1.617 variant has been found in 408 sequencing samples worldwide. 265 are in India from among the 8455 that have been looked into.

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