The scientists who worked on the report have also claimed that the clampdown on the movement of people from different countries and across different states during the nationwide lockdown might have also prevented the entry of different variants of the virus.
A report by the Department of Biotechnology presented before Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on the genome sequencing of COVID-19 has highlighted that a single variant of the virus which was probably brought by travellers from Europe is most prevalent amongst the infected Indian patients. According to the report, the A2a variant of the virus has displaced other types/variants of Coronavirus in the country, according to a report in the Indian Express.
The finding might probably soothe the ears of health authorities as tackling the homogenous spread of a single variant could be less difficult than the hydra-headed spread of the virus in the country. The scientists who worked on the report have also claimed that the clampdown on the movement of people from different countries and across different states during the nationwide lockdown might have also prevented the entry of different variants of the virus.
Dr Arindam Mitra, one of the scientists who worked on the study from the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG) Kalyani, West Bengal told The Indian Express that the A2a variant which is the predominant strain of the virus arrived in India from the clusters in Europe and Saudi Arabia. He also said that in the initial months of the spread of the virus cases of Coronavirus having 19A and 19B strains (original Wuhan variants) were also reported in the country but were taken over by A2a later on. The study has also found that the most divergent cases of different variants were found in the period between March and May and by the end of June the A2a had spread in most parts of the country becoming the predominant strain of the pandemic.
Mitra also said that the finding has also shown that the lockdown imposed by the central government in March had not only prevented the entry of new lineages of the virus from the international travellers but also curtailed the spread of multiple variants in all the parts of the country. The research has also traced the recent decline in the spread of Coronavirus cases in the national capital to the reduction in cases of the D164G gene variant of the virus. Advising caution in drawing quick conclusions from the study, Dr Saumitra Das, director, NIBMG, who was also part of the research team told the Indian Express that it might also be possible that the efforts of the government in the initial months might have contributed in curbing the spread of the virus.
She also said that it is not possible to know at this moment which strain is more virulent and more study needs to be done on the topic. She further said that the strength of the virus to mutate not only depends on itself but also on the infected patient. With different regions of the country having vast socio-economic and customary differences the virus reacts differently among different people due to their varied immunity and dietary habits.