New variants of Covid behind 2nd wave? Punjab traces highest 320 UK variant cases

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March 25, 2021 11:54 AM

From the occurrence of such foreign mutations of Coronavirus in single digits a few weeks ago, the number seems to have reached in hundreds and could easily explain the recent surge in Coronavirus cases in states like Punjab and Maharashtra.

Health experts have maintained that there is no evidence to believe at this point that the recent surge in the Coronavirus cases has got some correlation with the new variants.Health experts have maintained that there is no evidence to believe at this point that the recent surge in the Coronavirus cases has got some correlation with the new variants.

The fears of new variants of Coronavirus wreaking havoc in the country seem to be coming true with as many as 320 cases of Coronavirus in Punjab being traced to the UK variant which had been responsible for a sudden rise in the number of infections in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. From the occurrence of such foreign mutations of Coronavirus in single digits a few weeks ago, the number seems to have reached in hundreds and could easily explain the recent surge in Coronavirus cases in states like Punjab and Maharashtra, the Indian Express reported.

The government in a statement on Wednesday said that the total number of Covid-19 UK variant cases in the country was 736 while the number of cases traced to the South African variant and Brazilian variant of the virus were 34 and one respectively. The mutations which are actually the alterations in the genetic character of the virus is understood to be the reason behind its recent surge in different parts of the world. Fears have also been raised that the Coronavirus vaccines might also be less effective against the new variants of Coronavirus.

What do scientists say?
Health experts have maintained that there is no evidence to believe at this point that the recent surge in the Coronavirus cases has got some correlation with the new variants. The scientists further said that the prevalence of foreign mutations of the virus is not so high to cause widespread infections in the country. Even in Punjab where the highest number of UK variant Covid-19 cases have been traced, there needs to be a clinical analysis of the recent cases to reach any conclusion on the matter, according to the experts.

In case, most UK variant Coronavirus patients in the state turn out to be those who recently travelled abroad or their relatives then it would not pose much of a challenge, as per scientists. However, if the new variant is traced to varied members of the community in the state then it could pose severe challenge and lead to sudden increase in its spread among more people. If the latter turns out to be the case then it would also suggest that the quarantine guidelines are not being followed in letter and spirit by people who have recently returned from abroad.

Status of Genome Sequencing in India
In comparison to other countries, the country lags far behind in conducting genome sequencing of the Coronavirus patients in order to check whether the mutation of the virus. Despite being the country having the second largest number of Coronavirus cases in the world, the genome sequencing has only been done in a meagre 19,092 samples across the country, the Indian Express reported. On the other hand, countries like China and the US have conducted more than 1 lakh genome sequencing analysis.

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