Fresh Surge In COVID-19 Cases: New Variants Of Virus Not Responsible, Says Govt

New Delhi: The new variants of the COVID-19 virus are not responsible for the upsurge in active cases in five states, the government said on Tuesday. It was referring to data from genome sequencing of the virus samples so far.

Kerala, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have reported a gradual rise in active COVID cases over the past several days. The active coronavirus cases in the country went up to over 1.5 lakh after touching a low of 1.3 lakh cases earlier this month, the lowest since June, The New Indian Express (TNIE) reported.

In a press briefing, VK Paul, Member, Health, Niti Aayog, who also heads the national COVID-19 task force, said that while two variants of SARS CoV 2 – N440K and E484K, have been detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana, there is no epidemiological evidence to suggest that these mutants are causing the faster spread of the disease.

“Based on information available to us, yes these variants are there but there’s no reason today for us to believe, on the basis of scientific information, that these are responsible for the upsurge of the outbreak that you see in some districts of Maharashtra and Kerala,” Paul was quoted as saying.

The various variants

In the 3,500-genome sequencing tests carried out in India since December, nearly 200 cases of the UK variant, six cases of the South African variant and one case of the Brazilian variant of SARS CoV 2 have been found in India.

The presence of these three variants has been detected in international travellers but not in the community so far. They are of particular concern as they are found to be more transmissible and capable of causing severe disease in a higher number of infected people, the report added.

The data generated by the consortium, INSACOG, led by the National Centre for Disease Control is being epidemiologically analysed, interpreted and shared with the states or districts for investigation, contact tracing and planning response strategies, TNIE reported.

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