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No direct link between surge in Maharashtra and mutant strains N440K and E484Q: ICMR

In a statement issued earlier, Dr Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR, clarified that the mutant Covid-19 strains N440K and E484Q are not specific to India and have been detected in other countries, too.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
February 23, 2021 11:16:40 pm
Maharashtra covid, Maharashtra covid cases, ICMR, Maharashtra covid cases rise, maharashtra covid news, indian express newsDr Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR. (File)

There is no direct relation between the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra and the mutant virus strains N440K and E484Q, the Indian Council of Medical Research said on Tuesday. Maharashtra reported as many as 6,218 new cases and 51 deaths on Tuesday.

After Akola circle, the number of new infections was the highest in Pune circle with 679 new infections in the city on Tuesday, while Akola circle reported 1,392 cases, including 515 in Amravati. Mumbai circle reported 1,250 new cases while Pune circle reported 1,288.

In a statement issued earlier, Dr Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR, clarified that the mutant Covid-19 strains N440K and E484Q are not specific to India and have been detected in other countries, too. These strains were also detected earlier in other states in the country.

The E484Q strain was earlier detected in four sequences in Maharashtra as early as March and July 2020. The N440K mutation has been reported on 13 different occasions between May and September 2020 in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. The upsurge in Maharashtra cannot be attributed to the currently discussed point mutations, Bhargava said. However, the situation is being constantly monitored and as further scientific evidence emerges, it shall be duly shared, he added.

Dr T P Lahane, State Director of Medical Education and Research, told The Indian Express that results of the samples sent for testing to the National Institute of Virology and National Centre for Cell Science are awaited. “We expect the results later this week…” Lahane said.

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