COVID-19: Doctor further explained that coronavirus has two distinct strains - the L strain and the S strain. The L strain is the original strain found in Wuhan.
Coronavirus pandemic: Gujarat has seen a high rate of COVID-19 fatalities, with the number of deaths in the state standing at nearly half that of recoveries, as can be seen from the data of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. This high death rate could be due to the presence of L strain of the coronavirus in majority of the cases in the state, an IE report stated, citing Dr Atul Patel, Infectious Disease Specialist at the Sterling Hospital in Gujarat. Sterling Hospital is one of the three private hospitals which have been designated the task of treating coronavirus.
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The report further quoted Dr Patel as saying that in Kerala, the low mortality rate was due to the fact that the transmission was mostly caused by people returning from Dubai, where the virus had the S strain, which is milder than L strain. Dr Patel was speaking at a media interaction, which was being headed by Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, the report stated.
Dr Patel, while answering a question about the high mortality in Gujarat, said that the medical advisor to the Kerala government informed him that most of the cases in the southern state had come from Dubai.
He further explained that coronavirus has two distinct strains – the L strain and the S strain. The report quoted him as saying that the L strain is the original strain found in Wuhan and it causes severe disease and a quick death. Meanwhile, the S strain was a result of a spontaneous mutation of the L strain after Wuhan and the S strain is milder.
Dr Patel was further quoted as saying that L Strain was more common in France and Italy, hence causing the rapid deaths. He further said that in the US, the data for New York is different from that of other places, mainly because the cases in New York came from Europe.
In Gujarat, he said, the cases are from Europe, the US as well as New York, and so the strain they have is mixed. While they need to test which strain is predominant in Gujarat, he said he believes it is the L strain.
The report stated that in India, so far, three strains have been found depending on whether the cases came from China, Europe and the US.
The report then quoted Head of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr RR Gangakhedkar as saying that the strains only have minor variations. The first cases of the Wuhan students in Kerala had a strain similar to the Chinese strain. The cases which came from Iran had some fragments resembling the strain from China. However, the strain among people from Italy and the US contains the genome from different countries due to people’s frequent travels. For India, he said, it is important to ascertain which strain in predominant, which will be known in some time.
On the other hand, Dr Patel also said that co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension also caused the high fatality rate in Gujarat.