New Indian coronavirus strains could be highly transmissible, says PGIMER-Chandigarh director
Chandigarh: A day after the Central government confirmed the detection of two new strains of the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 in the country, a leading doctor has said that the variants - N440K and E484Q – could be highly transmissible.The director of PGIMER, Chandigarh said both the Indian variants of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the UK strain all appear to be highly transmissible. He urged the people to take the situation seriously and follow all COVID-19 guidelines.“New COVID-19 strains detected in India and the UK strain are highly transmissible. We should take all possible precautions to prevent the rise in cases. Currently, we have 55 COVID-19 cases at the hospital. The cases have gone up in the last 2 weeks,” Professor Jagat Ram said, as per news agency ANI.“We have seen an increase in the last 10 days. I would term it a significant number, keeping in view the new Indian strains, which could be highly transmissible, and also the strain from the UK. Though yet not known, these fast-spreading strains could result in higher mortality and this rise in numbers could convert into a second wave, which we must prevent with collective efforts,” The Indian Expres quoted Dr Ram as saying separately.On Tuesday, the Centre had confirmed the presence of the two new variants of COVID-19 in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana. Both Maharashtra and Kerala have been reporting a high number of coronavirus cases.The government however denied any direct relation between the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and some other states and the detection of the mutant coronavirus strains.According to NITI Aayog Member (Health) VK Paul, a number of cases of foreign variants of SARS-CoV-2 have also been confirmed - 187 cases of the UK strain, six of the South Africa variant and one of the Brazil variant.“Also, the N440K and E484Q variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana. Also, three other mutated strains -- one each from the UK, South Africa and Brazil are already present in the country. But there is no reason for us to believe presently, on the basis of scientific information, that they are responsible for the upsurge of the outbreak in some districts of Maharashtra and Kerala,” Paul said.Kerala and Maharashtra account for nearly 75 per cent of the total active COVID-19 cases in the country.