HYDERABAD: As the world races to discover a vaccine against COVID-19, a piece of good news that has emerged from Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is that a vaccine developed in any part of the world can prove equally useful in India.
The reason behind this is that the strain of the novel Coronavirus widely prevalent in India is the same as the one in most parts of the world — i.e., it belongs to the A2a clade — CCMB researchers have found.
The researchers report that the localised mutant strain of the virus discovered in India in the initial months of the pandemic, the A3i clade, is becoming less and less prevalent — from 40 per cent a few months ago to 18 per cent now.
It is mostly limited to Delhi. This is expected to decrease further. The analysis was published in the Open Forum For Infectious Diseases (OFID) by Oxford Academic under the title - 'A distinct phylogenetic cluster of Indian SARS-CoV-2 isolates'.
As the virus strain in India belongs to the globally prevalent A2a clade, which is known for high infectivity but not severity or death, it is being looked at as good news because world over vaccine development is happening to counter this particular strain of the virus. This means that if any country successfully comes out with a vaccine, it will be of use in India as well.
Virus is not mutating fast, says CCMB
CCMB scientist Divya Tej Sowpati tweeted a thread on Saturday on this topic, in which he said, “If a vaccine/drug targeting this mutation (A2a) is developed anywhere in the world, it will work with the same efficiency even here (India)”.
CCMB Director Dr Rakesh Mishra explained that the benefits of a common virus strain world over is not only in terms of better success of a drug or vaccine, but also shows that the virus is not mutating quickly. Moreover, nothing significant has been seen to suggest that the virus could become more aggressive or infectious and that it is mutating at an expected rate, he said.