New Delhi, Feb 27, 2021: A spurt in coronavirus cases in India for the past few days has raised concerns about whether it was linked to a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 but the experts have rejected the theories, saying there was no evidence to suggest so. While viruses mutate all the time, the spike in cases in states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka was linked to super spreader events.
An expert has told Moneycontrol that the spike in the coronavirus vases in India could be linked to the super spreader events and not the mutations of the virus.
Dr V Ravi, Retired Professor of Neurobiology at NIMHAN and Nodal Officer for Genomic Confirmation of SARS-CoV-2, Government of Karnataka, said the upsurge in India coronavirus cases is triggered by super spreader events and then lack of tracking, testing to detect the spread.
"It is not true that we have our own Indian variant that has emerged with the amino acid mutations that have been seen in Maharashtra. These changes have been witnessed in other places as well. We have been doing genomic sequencing at NIMHANS. We have found both the 440 and the 484 mutations isolated in variants that have been circulating ever since the post lockdown period. There is no variant that has a propensity to spread higher than what has been identified in India," he said.
On the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines on the new variants of the coronavirus, the report quoted experts as saying that there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that the vaccines will not be effective on the variants.
Amid a spurt in the coronavirus cases in India, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the existing Covid-19 guidelines will remain in force till March 31. In a statement, the home ministry said while there has been a substantial decline in the active and new coronavirus cases, there is a need to maintain surveillance, containment, and caution so as to fully overcome the pandemic.
The states and union territories have also been advised to speed up the vaccination of the target population so as to break the chain of transmission and overcome the pandemic.