Hyderabad: New Coronavirus variant N440K is spreading a lot more in southern states and closer surveillance is needed to understand its spread properly, CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra said in the release. The study conducted by the scientists of CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said that the mutants worrying many countries globally have been identified with only a low prevalence in India so far, but added that it might be simply because not enough sequencing has been done.Also Read - Chandigarh Schools, Colleges to Reopen from This Date, Vaccination Must | Details Here

“We now have emerging evidence that N440K (variant) is spreading a lot more in southern states. Closer surveillance is needed to understand its spread properly, Mishra said in the release. It must be noted that the CCMB scientists have been at the forefront of sequencing and analyzing the genome of the coronavirus SARS- CoV-2 in the country. Also Read - Vaccination, Infection May Lower Long COVID Symptoms: Study

New variants to keep emerging due to mutation

A comprehensive analysis of coronavirus variants in the country and their evolution during the pandemic by the scientists presented in a recent publication suggested new types would keep emerging due to natural process of mutation and the best way to control the potential damage by their spread is through extensive genome surveillance, a release from CCMB said. Also Read - Scientists Develop Lab-In-A-Backpack For Cheaper, Accurate COVID Testing

Important steps to be followed

Accurate and timely detection of new variants that may show greater infectivity or worse clinical symptoms, including “immune escape”, will be extremely important to pre-empt disastrous consequences, he said.

While vaccines are helpful, the “social vaccine” of masks, hand-hygiene and physical distance is the most effective weapon against the pandemic, the study said.

All about the study

The scientists presented their findings of analysis of over 5,000 coronavirus variants and how they have evolved over the course of the pandemic. The paper documents the Spike mutation landscape of SARS-CoV-2, showcasing the ones that have emerged with high prevalence in the country and abroad, the release said. “The take home of this comprehensive work is that due to the natural process of mutation, variants will keep emerging.

The best way to control the potential damage is to exercise extensive genome surveillance and take measures to prevent the spread of new variants as and when detected,” it said.

(With agency inputs)