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COVID-19 mutant strains, N440K and E484Q, not behind surge in cases in Maharashtra, Kerala: Centre


There is no direct relationship between the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and some other states, and the mutant viral strains – N440K and E484Q – of SARS-CoV-2, the Center said on Tuesday. . Speaking to a press conference, NITI member Aayog (Health) VK Paul said 187 people have tested positive for the UK strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the country so far, while six had been detected with the South African variant. In addition, one person has been detected with the Brazil variant so far.

In addition, the N440K and E484Q variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana. In addition, three other mutated strains – one each from the UK, South Africa and Brazil are already present in the country. But there is no reason for us to believe at present, on the basis of scientific information, that they are responsible for the resurgence of the epidemic in some districts of Maharashtra and Kerala Paul said.

Two states, Kerala and Maharashtra, account for 75% of the total active COVID-19 cases in the country. Reporting the detection alone does not lead to any attribution of a field phenomenon because, in order to relate the occurrence of a viral mutation to the change in the disease profile, other epidemiological and clinical information must be linked to these. mutants, Paul said, adding that otherwise these (mutations) continue to occur but they have no influence on the pandemic. He said the behavior of the mutations was constantly and closely monitored across the country and 3,500 samples had been sequenced so far.

“When we do the sequencing, we look for any abnormal changes in the character of the virus. We have observed mutants. Today, based on the information and analyzed and understood by a very prominent Scientific Advisory Group of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), we would like to stress that we are not seeing any attribution of mutant strains the resurgence of infection observed in some districts. But it is a work in progress. We will continue to monitor the situation with full responsibility, ”said Paul.

INSACOG was created at the end of December for the laboratory and epidemiological surveillance of circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the country. Stating that a large portion of the population is still vulnerable, Paul stressed that behaviors appropriate to COVID such as wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands and not going to gatherings mass should be tracked.

“There is no direct relationship between the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and certain other states with the mutant viral strains N440K and E484Q,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, director general of ICMR . He further clarified that these two strains of the virus have also been detected in other countries and are not specific to India. In addition, they were found earlier in some states of India.

The E484Q strain was detected earlier in four sequences in Maharashtra as early as March and July 2020. The N440K mutation was reported 13 times between May and September 2020 in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. The current upsurge in Maharashtra cannot be attributed to the point mutations currently being discussed, he said. However, as new scientific evidence emerges, it will be duly shared, he added.

The Department of Health has sent central teams to some states and will send teams to other states that have recently shown an increase in COVID cases, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. Maharashtra, he said, shows a daily increase in COVID-19 cases. Kerala is showing a gradual decline, but the daily cases in absolute numbers are still high there. The Punjab, with its daily increase in cases, is also a source of concern.

Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are also showing an increase in daily cases. Jammu and Kashmir saw a sudden spike and then showed a reduction in the number of daily cases. A core team of epidemiologists and public health experts will also visit Jammu and Kashmir, Bhushan said. These central teams analyze the reasons for the outbreak of cases and then meet with the chief secretary and the secretary of health of the states visited to share their findings and advise on measures to be taken to contain the outbreak.

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Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from zeenews.india.com

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