Scientists have identified 198 variants of Sars-CoV-2 virus in India. Most number of variants were found in Delhi, followed by Gujarat, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Two variants of the novel coronavirus, one from China and the other from Europe, are most prevalent in India, researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have said, according to a report by Hindustan Times.
The report states that the scientists at ZSI have identified 198 variants of Sars-CoV-2 virus in India. Most number of variants, according to the newspaper, were found in Delhi, followed by Gujarat, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
"Scientists and scholars from ZSI have analysed nearly 400 genomes found in India and found at least 198 variants of the virus, which means the virus had mutated at least 198 times in India or before entering the country," the director of ZSI, Kailash Chandra, said.
According to the report, genomes from India were analysed in GISAID global database between early March and the last week of May. The database showed more than 37,ooo genomes on June 2, the newspaper stated. Out of these, at least 550 were from India.
"Plotting the variants on the country’s map, we found that states such as Delhi, Telengana and Gujarat were the most heterogeneous. Those in the northeast showed the least number of variants," Bhim Joshi, one of the researchers from the team said.
"We found that two variants or haplo-groups (a genetic population that share a common ancestor) are most dominant. While one came from Wuhan in China, the other is the European variant," said Mukesh Thakur, who headed the research team.
According to the report, Delhi recorded 39 variants, while Ahmedabad alone recorded around 60 variants. Around 13 variants were found in Gandhinagar, and 55 in Telengana. Maharashtra and Karnataka had 15 variants each, the researchers found.
"Even though the initial variant had come from Italy, later variants from other countries in Europe also contributed heavily. Hence, we are calling it the European variant. Other variants, such as the ones which originated in Iran and Dubai, were found in (lower) numbers," Thakur told the newspaper.According to Joshi, viruses tend to mutate with time, and so has Sars-Cov-2. It doesn't make the disease more or less severe, but it helps researchers in understanding its behavior and also in development of a vaccine, Joshi added.