Karnataka has seen seven lineages of SARS-CoV-2: Expert

Although SARS-CoV-2 is a genetically stable virus compared to other flu viruses, it has seen smaller changes within the genetic composition in the last eight months, said V. Ravi, Senior Professor and Head of the Department of Neurovirology at NIMHANS.

Dr. Ravi, who will retire this month, told The Hindu that when the parent strain of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China, is compared to the virus, now there is no great degree of change.

“The current virus is nearly 98% similar to the Wuhan virus. But we have noticed some geographical lineages and Karnataka has had seven such lineages from the U.S., Europe, Dubai, Iran, China, Indonesia/Malaysia, and Italy,” he said.

Pointing out that these lineages came directly into Karnataka from other countries or through other States, the virologist, who is also a member of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said it was genetically established that the Nanjangud cluster was very similar to the European lineage.

“Although the source of infection in Nanjangud has not been detected, visitors from an European country had visited the plant in mid-February,” he said. “However, the index case in Nanjangud cluster — an employee of a pharmaceutical company — was detected positive in mid-March. We are unable to establish a link between the European visitors in mid-February and the index case in mid-March,” he explained.

The evidence for linkage to the European lineage has been established by genetic sequencing. Therefore, there must have been someone who got infected between mid-February and mid-March, Dr. Ravi said.

“We observed that the Indonesian/Malaysian lineage was predominant among those who attended the Tablighi Jamat religious congregation in Delhi,” he added. The other lineages can be traced to foreign returnees from these countries, Dr. Ravi added.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 11:46:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-has-seen-seven-lineages-of-sars-cov-2-expert/article33191423.ece

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