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‘New variant detected by NIV can cause serious symptoms’ | India News


NEW DELHI: The National Institute of Virology in Pune has detected a new Covid-19 variant, B., by sequencing the genome of samples from international travelers from the UK and Brazil to India.
The new variant is likely to cause severe symptoms. The results of the pathogenicity evaluation show an increased severity of the disease and point to the need to evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine. Findings from the pre-print study have been published online at bioRxiv.
However, according to an uncorrected manuscript from a separate NIV study, Pune, the two-dose regimen of Covaxin significantly increased the efficacy of antibodies and neutralization against the variant.
Variant B. induced body weight loss, viral replication in the respiratory tract, lung lesions, and caused severe lung disease in an infected Syrian hamster model, according to the study.
The study pointed to the need for genomic surveillance and characterization of SARS-CoV-2 variants to understand their pathogenicity and potential for immune escape for the preparation of countermeasures.
Genome sequencing labs are looking for mutants that have significant potential to seriously affect disease transmission. Currently, 10 national laboratories of INSACOG (India’s SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortiums) have sequenced around 30,000 samples. The government plans to increase genome sequencing and recently added 18 more labs to the consortium.

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