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Delta strain predominant during second Covid wave in Chandigarh: PGI

Director of PGI urges people to continue following Covid-appropriate behaviour and opt for vaccination in order to stop the third wave

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
June 21, 2021 8:43:51 pm
Health Worker takes Swab sample of People for Covid-19 Testing at CHC Model town in Patiala. (Express Photo by Harmeet Sodhi)

During the second wave of Covid-19, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) were found in around 61 per cent and 30 per cent of samples respectively that were collected and were sent for whole-genome sequencing to National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi.

“The majority of these samples (92%) belonged to residents of Chandigarh. Thus, during the second Covid wave in UT Chandigarh, the Delta variant was the main circulating strain,” informed Prof. Jagat Ram, director of PGI.

The Department of Virology, PGI, has been carrying out Covid-19 testing by RT-PCR since March 2020 and to date, more than 2.5 lakh samples have been tested. To study whether there was any change in the circulating strain in UT Chandigarh during the second wave, around 25 stored positive samples from the period of May 5, 2021, to May 24, 2021, were sent for whole-genome sequencing to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi.

“The majority of these samples (92%) belonged to residents of Chandigarh. During the second wave Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) were found to be present among 61 per cent and 30 per cent samples respectively. In two samples, sequencing could not be performed due to low content of genomic material,” elaborated Prof Jagat Ram.

Prof. GD Puri, Dean (Academics), PGIMER, said that samples were sent from admitted patients in Nehru Hospital Extension Block, where severe and critical Covid positive cases are admitted, and all the samples showed that they contained the Delta strain. “Around 80 per cent of the patients who succumbed to Covid-19 in the second wave had the Alpha strain. Fortunately, no cases of Delta plus variant succumbing were reported,” added Prof. Puri.

Prof Ram said that even though the number of cases had started decreasing, people should continue adhering to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and also opt for vaccination as soon as possible so as to break the transmission chain completely and to halt the impending threat of a third wave. “A major sign of relief is the slowing down of the second wave and the total toll of positive patients is low in Chandigarh at present. But still, there is no room for complacency.”

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