THD News Desk, New Delhi: Amid the rampantly increasing cases of Covid-19 in India, there seems to be a new and more lethal variant of coronavirus that has been discovered in several parts of the country.
SARS-CoV-2’s new variant, ‘N440K’ is believed to be at least 15 times more resilient and dangerous than the earlier ones. Reports state that it may even be stronger than the Indian variants of B1.617 and B1.618.
Parts of the country that have been hit by the second wave of COVID-19 are experiencing the outbreak of the variants with N440K substitution. With different and more lethal variants emerging in different countries, COVID-19 is threatening to tackle and contain this virus.
According to Divya Tej Sowpati of CCMB, “In Maharashtra, the second wave started almost a month and a half earlier compared to the four southern states.” Speaking about Kerala he said, “though not much data is available on GISAID for the state, we can see from genescov2.genomes.in that B.1.1.7 is increasing at present, whereas N440K is present in less than 20 per cent of the genomes.”
The double mutant variant and the UK variant found in the southern parts of India is replacing the N440K, which was the mutation of concern, as stated by the data.
“N440K is at very low levels in Visakhapatnam and Andhra Pradesh in general. It is there in less than 5 per cent of the samples. It is incorrect to say it is causing havoc. The B1617 variant is dominating now in most parts of the country”, added Sowpati.
While the N440K variant is likely to disappear from India, the explosion of B1617 is replacing it quickly during the second wave of coronavirus. Sowpati added that it is difficult to state how many variants there are in the world now as every time it mutates and replicates. While comparing the data from Maharashtra, it was found that the increase in the B1617 is seen in February than March 2021 and there was a reduction in N440K, he noted.
India’s COVID-19 cases tally crossed 2 crore landmarks with over 3.82 lakh cases in 24 hours and 3780 deaths.