Punjab has maximum cases of coronavirus variants: Govt data


Punjab has the most number of coronavirus samples with mutations, followed by Telanaga, Delhi, and Maharashtra, as per the state-wise data released by the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.

A total of 771 cases of coronavirus variants have been detected across 18 states. Punjab accounts for 336 such cases, followed by 104 in Telangana, 69 in Delhi and 62 in Maharashtra.

There are 736 samples positive for viruses of the UK (B.1.1.7) lineage, 34 samples of the South African (B.1.351) lineage and one sample of the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.

Punjab has the most number of samples with the UK strain, while Telangana has the most samples with the South African strain. Maharashtra has one samples with the Brazilian lineage.

The Central government has said that both the present vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, are effective against the UK and Brazilian variant. Research in relation with the effectiveness against the South African variant is going on.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a grouping of 10 national laboratories, has been carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating Covid-19 viruses, and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants.

Genomic variants of various viruses are a natural phenomenon and are found in almost all countries, the Health Ministry said.

Genome sequencing and analysis have been carried out on samples from arriving international travellers, contacts of those positive for VOC and community samples from most of the states.

“Though variants of concerns (VOCs) and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish or direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some States,” the Health Ministry said.