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Virologists say it is unlikely to consider surge as due to this variant in Punjab

As Punjab is suffering from Covid-19 Surge, the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) at New Delhi has detected the N440K variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in two samples that were sent by the state health department. On Sunday, the State Health Department was communicated with this information, and the rest of the complete information is expected on Monday.

Punjab government had sent 480 random Covid positive samples to the IGIB, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune, and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) at Bengaluru for over a month ago for sequencing to check the new mutated virus strain. The state health department has received results of only 90 Covid positive samples till date from NCDC and IGIB, in which two samples have been found exhibiting the mutations of N440K variant, said state Covid-19 nodal officer Dr. Rajesh Bhaskar.

Asked whether these two reports were a cause of worry when the cases are rising in Punjab, Dr. Bhaskar said, that the state government was waiting for the results of all the 480 samples to reach some conclusion or inferring the role of N440K variant in the recent spurt in Covid cases in Punjab. “We have not yet received any special instructions about such cases by the Centre. We will ensure compliance of the instructions as and when received,” said the nodal officer. He added that as the state health department had sent these Covid samples to the three laboratories over a month ago, almost all the patients have recovered.

The N440K variant has been in existence for a long time and also been detected in the Covid positive samples from various other states including Maharashtra, Kerala, and Telangana. It is unlikely to have a surge due to these two variants that are found recently, Punjab is witnessing Covid Surge clearly due to non-appropriate behaviour to COVID, said Virologist Professor Dr. Mini P Singh. While Dr Bhaskar said, ” In Punjab, people had already considered COVID as non existed entity, that is only reason behind the surge. Rest it is too soon to conclude anything on these two variants N440K unless we get a complete report.

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