Due to the threat of the new COVID-19 variants across India, three samples from Odisha were found to be carrying the profoundly infectious UK strain, and one has a double mutation.
As per the report out of 771 variants of concern detected, among 10,787 positive samples from 18 states, three are from Bhubaneswar. These three belong to a family who had returned from Britain in mid-December last year.
The report further informs that the person who was found with the double mutation variant is from Nuapada district, returned from Maharashtra. PK Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary of Health department stated that the Odisha Government was informed about the presence of the new strain in the state but didn’t want to come out as public to avoid unnecessary panic situation among the citizens.
According to the officials the Odisha Government claimed that all precautionary measures and follow-up actions were taken after the UK strain which was found in the samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune for genome sequencing.
The official report further added that around 181 people had returned to Odisha from Britain between November 31 and December 21 and seven had tested positive. Even genome sequencing of 125 samples has been conducted at the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) which is a part of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics comprising 10 national laboratories.
Five samples from the State have been found with the N440K variant that is associated with immune escape and one sample with the E484Q and L452R double mutation, which confer immune escape and increased infectivity.
Dr. Ajay Parida, ILS Director requested the public not to panic as the double mutation found in one sample was not important and it was a very old sample and no further infection spread was identified.
Image Source – Google