New Delhi: As the national capital continues to register record-spike in COVID cases with around 25,000 cases being reported every day, government data has suggested that the massive surge could be due to the UK variant. The prevalence of UK variant of COVID-19 in genomes sequenced nearly doubled from the second to the last week of March, said Sujeet Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).Also Read - Triple Mutant Appearing in India's Virus Variant, What it Means
Speaking at a webinar, ‘Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-19’, the NCDC chief said the UK variant of coronavirus is also dominant in Punjab. Also Read - New Double Mutant COVID Strain In At Least 10 States; UK Variant In 18-19 States
In Delhi, there are primarily two types of variants — B.1.617 and the UK variant — found in the genome sequenced samples, the NCDC director said. Also Read - New Coronavirus Variant: What is B.1.617 And is it More Dangerous - All You Need to Know
The B.1.617 variant of coronavirus is also known as the double mutant strain.
The UK variant was found in 28 per cent of samples in the second week of March. In the last week of the month, 50 per cent of samples had this variant, Singh said.
“If we try to co-relate, the surge we are observing in Delhi, it directly co-relates to the type of variant which we are observing,” he said.
So far, Singh said, 15,133 samples have been sequenced by INSACOG, a consortium formed in December last year to increase viral genomic surveillance in order to understand the spread of the coronavirus in a rapid and robust manner.
This was also after the UK, South African and Brazilian strains, which have a higher rate of transmission, emerged.
Singh said in Maharashtra, the B.1.617 variant was found in proportions of over 50 per cent in many cities.
The NCDC is one of the 10 laboratories involved in the genome sequencing of coronavirus.
(With inputs from PTI)