No need to panic over N440K variant of COVID-19, says expert

The N440K variant is the reason for the sharp spike in new infections in Andhra Pradesh in last few weeks.
Representational Image. (File Photo | PTI)
Representational Image. (File Photo | PTI)

VIJAYAWADA: There is no need for people to panic over the reports that the N440K variant of Covid-19 is more virulent than other known variants of coronavirus, experts noted. 

South India's N440K variant is the reason for the sharp spike in new infections in Andhra Pradesh in last few weeks.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) Advisor Rakesh Mishra said the N440K strain, which was found in 20-30 per cent of samples in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana will fade away in the coming weeks.

However, people are advised to strictly adhere to Covid Appropriate Behaviour like wearing mask, maintaining physical distance, personal hygiene and proper sanitation, as the new variant of Covid-19 -- B.1.617 known as the ‘Double Mutant’ or ‘Indian Variant,’ is steadily becoming a dominant ‘variant’ of Coronavirus, he said.

Detected in several cases in Maharashtra initially, the Double Mutant Coronavirus is now increasingly found in samples in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana and other States.

The B.1.617 variant contains mutations from two separate virus variants, namely E484Q and L452R.

Experts are focusing their study on the Double Mutant and looking at the patterns to find out if it was the reason for the surge in Covid cases during the second wave.

And, any link between Kurnool city and N440K variant of Covid-19, which went viral on the social media, was ruled out.

“In fact, the samples in which the N440K variant was traced were given in last June and July itself and it is not the new variant that has caused the surge in Covid cases.

Scientists are doing their best to study the new variants and come up with solutions.

On our side, we should not become panic-stricken by reports circulating on social media, instead adhere to Covid Appropriate Behaviour and help in curtailing the spread of the virus,” Principal Secretary (Health) Anil Kumar Singhal said.

According to CCMB Advisor Rakesh Mishra, N440K was found to be more dominant than previous variants during cell culture and was more prevalent in Southern States.

However, it is old news and in the coming few weeks it will fade away, he added.

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