Research suggests that the Covid 19 virus that is in circulation in Karnataka in the second wave is of the double mutant of Maharashtra strain (B.1.617) and the UK variant (B.1.1.7). It has practically eliminated the previous strain (B.1.36.29). dominant in the state.
The UK and Maharashtra variants
This report was revealed by one of the 10 labs in the country carrying out genome sequencing of coronavirus strains.
“The accelerated displacement of B.1.36.29 by the UK and Maharashtra variants is indicative of bigger infectivity. The higher infectivity of the UK variant is known but it has to be established for B.1.617,” said Prof V Ravi, former head of Department of Virology at Nimhans.
Professor Ravi is currently working on Covid 19 genomics at the lab and said that there was no proof yet to show that any strain is more severe than the other.
“In terms of clinical behavior, the virus is the same. We are witnessing more critical cases because we are seeing five times the number of cases seen earlier. The severity has nothing to do with mutants. There is absolutely no evidence,” Ravi said.
The research at Nimhans
The research done by Nimhans (Bangalore) discovered the B.1.617 strain in 36 of the 69 (52%) positive samples collected between March and end-April, and B.1.1.7 in 19 of them (27.5%). However, the study states that from December 2020 to early March 2021, the dominant variant in Karnataka was B.1.36.29, which has been transmitting since March 2020.
“In Delhi and Punjab the UK variant is a problem and in Maharashtra and 16 other states the B.1.617 double mutant has become a problem,” Ravi said.
Ravi, sharing the report of Nimhans, explained that the UK variant and the Maharashtra double mutant were in community transmission in Bangalore by the end of March.
“50 percent of sequences in south Bangalore in the last week of March were the Maharashtra variant”, the report read.
It completely makes sense, after all, Karnataka is seeing a Covid-19 wave since the end of March.
The third wave
Ravi further explained that the second wave would affect all the states and a third wave would occur later in the year.
“My prophecy is that it will be between October and December. We are in it for the long haul unless we change our behavior and unless our leaders change their behavior. All variants or no variants do not make a difference if you wear masks. They do not understand masks,” he said.
The scientist cautioned that children could be hit the worst in the third wave. “We are vaccinating the elderly, middle-aged, and the young but there is no vaccine for children. The virus will always find a sensitive host,” Ravi added.
Source: The Indian Express