COVID-19 Amravati Strain Suspected To Cause Early Pneumonia

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Mumbai: A COVID-19 variant nicknamed ‘Amravati strain’ is suspected to have been found in Amravati and Yavatmal districts of Maharashtra.

The health department, however, has ruled out any change in genetic sequence of the virus. Earlier, it was reported that two new mutations of the virus have been detected and are suspected to be more infectious, causing early pneumonia.

“Further investigations are underway and some more samples from Akola, Amravati and Yavatmal districts have been sent to the National Institute of Virology and National Institute of Cell Science, Pune for genetic testing. A detailed report is expected by next week,” the health department said.

“In Amravati, we came across a mutation named E484K in all four samples. When we inquired if all samples belonged to one family, we were told they were taken from different locations, so the conclusion was that it was a common mutation,” the department said.

Cases in Amravati and nearby districts have surged recently with Maharashtra reporting over 5,000 positive cases per day after a long time. Mumbai is seeing over 700 cases per day. Authorities on Thursday cautioned against possible mutation.

All these strains are reported to be of A2 type of coronavirus, which is common in India. The two vaccines available are also believed to be effective in these strains.

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