Science and Technology

Some viral facts

| Updated on May 09, 2021

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* The Indian SARS-CoV-2- Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a consortium of ten national laboratories, established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in December 2020, has said that the UK variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, B.1.1.7, has been declining across India in the last one-and-a-half months. B.1.1.7 is now at “community-level transmission in India”.

* Technical terms confuse laypeople; a ‘triple mutant’ virus is intuitively thought of as more dangerous than ‘double mutant’. INSACOG clarifies that “technically, double or triple mutant refers to the same variant”.

* As for the virus variant B.1.617, which has come to be known as ‘Indian variant’ but is not exclusive to India, “there is no evidence of increased severity or mortality”, says INSACOG. It meets most criteria for being named as ‘variant of concern’, but “does not appear to be more dangerous than circulating global VoCs, such as B.1.1.7, B.1.351 or P1”.

* INSACOG has done the genome sequencing of about 20,000 samples; about 1,500 variants have been identified. These are mainly the UK and South Africa variants and a small number of Brazil variants. In addition to these, some other variants were noted including one which, on clinical correlation, appears to be a variant of concern and is being studied in detail. Data on variants is being clinically correlated and regularly shared with respective states.

Published on May 09, 2021

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