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No major mutation in Covid-19 virus in India, confirms PMO

Based on two pan-India studies on Covid-19 virus genome, the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday confirmed that there is no major mutation in the virus in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic situation and vaccine delivery, distribution and administration.

Earlier, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had said that the Indian Council of Medical Research has been conducting large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus collected for several months over different time periods.

Also Read: Potential Covid-19 vaccines not affected by recent mutations: Study

The minister had said there was no significant or drastic mutation in the strains.

Reports said about 12,000 mutations have been documented in over 3.2 crore cases globally. Mutation is evolution that the virus goes through to adapt to various barriers.

A recent study has revealed that mutation is the reason why Covid-19 death rates are different in various states. An international team, led by researchers at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Uttar Pradesh, analysed mutations in the gene responsible for the expression of the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2), a protein on the surface of cells which is believed to act as a gateway for the novel coronavirus into the human body.

Their spatial analysis showed that in India, frequency of this haplotype, or a combination of mutations, varied between 33-100 per cent across different regions.

The researchers, for the first time, also ascertained a significant positive correlation for the mutation with the lower infection and case-fatality ratio (CFR) among Indian populations.

“If in a region more people with this haplotype will be present, the infectiousness of the virus would likely be lesser,” Professor Chaubey, who led the study, told news agency PTI. For example, he noted that state-wise Maharashtra and Gujarat have the lowest frequency of the gene mutation of about 30-40 per cent while the Northeastern region with a 75-100 per cent mutation in the gene has the highest frequency.

(With PTI inputs)

Source: HindustanTimes