Scientists from CSIR-CCMB, in a recent publication, have presented an exhaustive analysis of over 5,000 coronavirus variants in India and how they have evolved over the course of the pandemic.
"The novel variants that are worrying many countries globally have been identified with only a low prevalence in India so far. These include the variants with immune-escape E484K mutation and the N501Y mutation with higher transmission rate. However, their apparent low prevalence might be simply because not enough sequencing has been done. More coronavirus genomes need to be sequenced across the country to accurately identify the emergence of these and other new variants", said Dr Rakesh Mishra, Director, CCMB and corresponding author on the study.
According to a release by CSIR-CCMB, the study also finds that a few novel variants are spreading more in some states of India.
"We now have emerging evidence that N440K is spreading a lot more in southern states. Closer surveillance is needed to understand its spread properly. Accurate and timely detection of new variants that may show greater infectivity or worse clinical symptoms, including immune escape, will be extremely important to preempt disastrous consequences," said Dr Mishra.
In the paper, the authors explain how different coronavirus variants gained prevalence in India during the last year.