New Delhi: While India is gripped with the second COVID-19 wave, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday (May 5) highlighted that the UK strain (B.1.1.7 lineage of SARS CoV-2) of COVID-19 is more dominant in north India, whereas the double mutant COVID-19 variant (B.1.617) is more dominant in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat.
While making this observation, the director of the National Centre for Disease Control, Sujeet Singh, also added that the proportion of UK strain is declining in the country from the past few months.
Sujeet Singh revealed that, as per the study, the UK strain is majorly found in parts of Punjab (482 samples), Delhi (516), followed by Telangana (192), Maharashtra (83) and Karnataka (82).
The NCDC director also said that over top ten major government laboratories and institutions have been studying the genomes of COVID-19 since last December, adding that over 18,053 samples have been sequenced till May.
The NCDC director further revealed that the outcome of the research was shared with the states twice in February and four times in March and April via video conference. He also added that the health ministry, in COVID-19 review meetings, informed the state representatives and authorities of the current status and concerns surrounding COVID-19 variants.
‘Third COVID-19 wave inevitable’
With active cases climbing to 34.87 lakh in India, the top scientific officer said it was not expected that the second wave would hit the country with such ferocity.
"Phase three is inevitable given the higher levels of circulating virus, but it is not clear on what time-scale this phase three will occur. We should be prepared for new waves," he said.
The Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan added that the virus has now adopted a “hit and run lifestyle”.
Also, a combination of less cautionary measures and low immunity in the population from the first wave is driving the second wave, which has killed thousands and infected lakhs of people across India.
K Vijay Raghvan also said although vaccines are efficacious against new mutations like the UK one and the double mutant, surveillance and vaccine updates are needed as the virus mutates further.
COVID-19 tsunami in southern Indian states
The number of cases in the southern Indian states are at an all time high. Kerala, on Wednesday (May 5) logged 41,953 new COVID-19 cases which is the highest single-day spike since the pandemic started. Following which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “the state is going through a serious situation with COVID spreading rapidly and hence the situation calls for imposing more stringent restrictions.”
On the other hand, Karnataka also reported the highest ever single-day spike with over 50,000 new COVID-19 infections. Followed by Tamil Nadu with 23,310 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours.
(With agency inputs)