This particular variant called B.617, which was first discovered in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in December last year, is currently the focus of global attention due to its possible role in triggering India’s second wave of infections.
At the UK’s request, samples of the double-mutant Indian variant of the coronavirus, suspected of fueling the violent second surge, are being sent to London to allow for larger studies on the effectiveness of existing vaccines against.
“The virus culture samples are currently being sent to the UK. In fact, the variants are being exchanged. The first delivery should be in the next few days,” said Rakesh Mishra, who is retiring as director of the Hyderabad-based Center for Cell and Molecular Biology three days.
This particular variant called B.617, which was first discovered in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in December last year, is currently the focus of global attention due to its possible role in triggering the second wave of infections in India.
Scientists still do not blame this variant for the increase in India, but admit that it may have been the main reason for the increase in cases, at least in some areas such as Vidarbha.
Incidentally, according to the WHO, this Indian strain has been detected in at least 17 countries, including the USA, Great Britain and Singapore.
In the past few days, several countries have imposed restrictions on Indian travelers for fear of bearing and spreading the burden. One of the most influential infectious disease experts, Anthony Fauci, stated in a recent interview with The India Express that India should provide samples of this variant to the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries/regions. For analysis.
Mishra said the UK application was received at least a few weeks ago and is being processed.
“We are transporting some isolates from here, and they (the UK) are transporting some of them. Some final approvals are. This exchange of material and information is extremely important during such a pandemic,” Mishra said.
In the meantime, the B.617 variant has also been found in the British population, so that it could be grown there. Mishra said sample sharing continues to be important as there could be huge differences in the samples collected here and in the UK.
“This variant has now been found in several people in the UK population. The transfer of samples was more urgent and relevant two weeks ago than it is today, but is still important as there could be significant differences between the variants found here. and in the UK. The transfer of biomaterials takes time. There are international biodiversity standards regulating the exchange of such materials between countries, there are biosafety issues and therefore various permits and permits are required in both the UK and India. ” he said.
Mishra said the vaccines currently used in India, Covishield and Covaxin have been shown to be effective against this variant.
“Our own studies (by CCMB and others) have shown that both vaccines are effective. However, we haven’t tested any other vaccines like (those made by Pfizer or Moderna) because we don’t have access to those vaccines. These tests would currently have to be carried out in other countries, so this material transfer is very important. Our tests have shown that Covishied and Covaxin are effective not only against this variant, but also against the British variant (B1.7) that is widespread in northern India, ”he said.