ICMR plans to study whether the new strain of coronavirus in India changed shape

NEW DELHI: The Indian Council for Medical Research () is planning to study whether the new strain in India has undergone a mutation while spreading within the country for the past two months.

According to a senior scientist from the country's apex health research body, determining whether or not the SARS-CoV2 strain has changed will help ensure the effectiveness of a potential vaccine. The study will also indicate if it has become more virulent and if it has increased transmission capacity.

Patient samples will be collected to study whether the new coronavirus strain has mutated or not, he said.

However, the study may begin once the closure is lifted, as there are currently difficulties involved in transporting samples from different states and Union territories, the scientists said.

According to the Global Influenza Data Sharing Initiative (GISAID), the maximum difference in the new coronavirus strain in India has so far been found to be between 0.2 to 0.9 percent compared to strains in other countries, another said. scientific.

GISAID, which promotes the international exchange of all influenza virus sequences and related clinical and epidemiological data, has more than 7,000 complete SARS-CoV2 genome sequences deposited by various laboratories around the world where they have classified the virus into function of their mutations.

There are chances that people arriving in India from different countries will bring various strains of the virus.

Three strains of the virus have been traced so far in India. One was from Wuhan and the other two from Italy and Iran. The sequence of the coronavirus strain from Iran was similar to that of China.

It will take us some time to know the predominant quasi-species of the new coronavirus in the country. But mutations are unlikely to render potential vaccines ineffective, since all virus subtypes have the same enzymes. Furthermore, it has been in India for three months and does not mutate very quickly, the ICMR Chief of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, Dr. Raman R Gangakhedkar had said.

Six Indian companies are working on a vaccine for Covid-19, joining the global race to find a prevention for the deadly infection that is spreading rapidly around the world.

Nearly 70 'vaccine candidates' are being tested and at least three have entered the human clinical trial stage, but a vaccine for the new coronavirus is unlikely to be ready for mass use before 2021.

India has also collaborated with the WHO multi-country solidarity trial to develop possible treatments and drugs for Covid-19.

The death toll from Covid-19 rose to 1,218 and the number of cases rose to 37,336 across the country on Saturday, according to the number of active Covid-19 cases at 26,167, while 9,950 people have recovered and one patient has my degree. .