New mutated variant of COVID-19 detected in 18 Indian states

New Delhi: A novel variant of the coronavirus had been detected in India in addition to many other variants of concern (VOCs) also found abroad, the Union Health Ministry informed on Wednesday.

Taking to Twitter, the ministry wrote, “Genome Sequencing by INSACOG shows variants of concern and a novel variant in India.”

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) is a grouping of 10 National Laboratories established by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on December 25.

INSACOG is repsonsible for carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating COVID-19 viruses, and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants.

Since INSACOG initiated its work, as many as 771 variants of concerns (VOCs) have been detected in a total of 10787 positive samples shared by States/UTs.

The samples with these VOCs have been identified across 18 states in the country.

These include 736 samples positive for viruses of the UK (B.1.1.7) lineage. Around 34 samples were found positive for viruses of the South African (B.1.351) lineage.

While one sample was found positive for viruses of the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.

“Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some States,” the statement read.

Notably, genomic variants of various viruses are a natural phenomenon and are found in almost all countries.

India recorded 47,262 new cases of the novel coronavirus, which is the highest reported single-day rise for the year 2021. This takes the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,17,34,058, as per the Union Health Ministry.