|  |  | 

India Top Headlines

Is the Indian Covid variant behind the second wave that started at Vidarbha? | India News


NAGPUR: International scientists are now trying to decode the Covid variant, B.1.617, which appears most infectious in India. There is a theory that this variant emerged in Amravati and caused a large increase in cases in nearby districts in February, although more research is needed to confirm this.
International researchers believe that this variant is typically of Indian origin. As a result, researchers and media companies around the world are now focusing on Vidarbha; some even visited Nagpur while tracking down the new “Indian variant”. “It is different than the variant from the UK, Africa or Brazil, which were discussed at the beginning of this wave,” said Dr. Nitin Shinde, an infectious disease specialist, who has been receiving inquiries from many international researchers and journalists on the second. wave in India. .
“Many countries, including the UK, have imposed travel bans on India. This is because a specific variant of the virus, B.1.617, is becoming increasingly common, ”said Dr. Shinde. He believes that the increase in Amravati was also due to this variant, although it needs to be confirmed with further research.

According to data shared by the eGlobal Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GSAID), B.1.617 was found for the first time in samples collected in December 2020 in the country. They have genome sequencing data from Indian samples as of April 3 this year. Until then, this variant was visible in 29% of the samples in India.

G20 health ministers recognize GSAID for its importance to global health. In 2020, the WHO called this data science initiative “a game changer” regarding the pandemic.
Dr. Atul Gawande, from Umarkhed in the Yavatmal district of Vidarbha and currently a member of US President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 monitoring advisory team, has also raised concerns about this variant, calling it “extremely scary.” . “I see this variant running through my entire family’s homes in India. It is not clear if it is more lethal and if vaccines work well against it, “he said.

As Dr. Gawande pointed out, this variant has been observed, especially in Vidarbha, to infect entire families, unlike its predecessors in the September 2020 wave. This means that the virus is significantly more infectious, he says. But whether it is lethal or not remains to be studied. Currently, the variant is “under investigation.” It is not yet designated as a “variant of interest”, but scientists have recognized it as a “variant of interest”. According to an initial study by virology researcher Grace Roberts of Queen’s University, Belfast, this variant is estimated to be around 20% more transmissible than the previous form of the coronavirus that circulated during the first wave.
However, Health Ministry officials said the increase in cases is not related to the variant, as B.1.617 has not been detected in high enough quantities to determine whether it is directly responsible. However, experts think this may be due to a lack of data, and many have emphasized the importance of increasing virus sequencing to get a better image.

Original source