Science

Covid-19: India successfully cultures UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2, says ICMR

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on January 03, 2021

In a first, India has successfully isolated and cultured the new UK-variant of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Saturday.

“India successfully cultures the new viral strain on the horizon (UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2),” ICMR said in a tweet.

The apex medical body further shared details on of the development in its Twitter post.

“UK-variant of the virus, with all signature changes, is now successfully isolated and cultured at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) from the clinical specimens collected from UK-returnees,” it said.

“Vero cell lines were used by the scientists of ICMR-NIV to culture the UK-variant of the virus,” it added.

ICMR further said that it has been tracking the Sars-CoV-2 virus through its countrywide network of ICMR-laboratories since the early days of the epidemic in India.

The isolation of the variant can help in developing drugs and treatment along with rapid diagnostics kit.

The new variant genome of the virus was reported in the United Kingdom in December and first appeared in southeast England, according to a recent report by the World Health Organisation.

Researchers in the UK suggested that though the transmissibility of the virus is relatively higher than other strains, it does not, however, cause a change in disease severity. The higher rate of infection however is alarming.

The variant has led to comprehensive contact tracing for co-travellers, family members and others who have travelled to the UK in the last 38 days. India has reported at least 29 cases of the new variant so far, as per reports.

Published on January 03, 2021

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