Tamil Nadu

U.K. variant in 14 samples from community clusters

A total of 14 samples that were lifted from community clusters that surfaced in some parts of the State and were sent for whole genome sequencing (WGS), have returned positive for the U.K. variant of COVID-19.

According to official data, eight samples from the Thanjavur school cluster (two each from schools in Ammapettai, Kulichapatti and Thiruvisainallur, and one each from schools in Thalavapalayam and Puthur); two samples from the Commercial Tax Staff Training Institute, Nandanam; two from the Omandurar Medical College; and two from the IT cluster - AGS Health Pvt Limited, Kandanchavadi and Taramani, were referred to InSTEM, Bengaluru for WGS. The 14 samples returned positive for the U.K. variant.

Earlier, public health officials decided to send randomly selected samples from clusters for WGS.

A total of 69 COVID-19 samples from community clusters were referred for WGS. The results of 14 samples were received, while those of 55 others are pending.

All 14 cluster samples were tested at the State Public Health Laboratory, and it was found that the S-gene (spike protein) was missing in them.

Further analysis

“This finding needs further analysis. We need to work with academic institutions like the Indian Council of Medical Research,” T.S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said.

The State has so far referred 127 RT-PCR-positive samples to InSTEM, Bengaluru, and the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for WGS. These were samples lifted from U.K. travellers and their contacts, and community clusters.

Of these, the State has received the results of 62 samples, while those of 65 others are awaited.

A total of 29 samples — 15 from U.K. travellers and their contacts and 14 from community clusters — returned positive for the U.K. variant. Another 25 samples returned negative for the variant, while the results of eight samples were inconclusive, according to the data.

“Since control measures, including treatment, remain the same, there is no need to panic. Wear masks, maintain physical distance and take the vaccine as per eligibility,” Dr. Selvavinayagam said.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 3:32:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/uk-variant-in-14-samples-from-community-clusters/article34370949.ece

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