Bengaluru: The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is mutating faster in Bengaluru, compared to the national and global average mutation rate according to a study conducted by a group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). The virus samples from Bengaluru had 27 mutations in their genomes, with over 11 mutations per sample. This is higher than both the national average of 8.4 and global average of 7.3.
The study also found that samples of the virus in India have not evolved from a single ancestral variant but have multiple origins.
The study involved a process called next generation sequencing (NGS) which allows rapid sequencing of the entire genome. In a statement from IISc, Professor Utpal Tatu, who led the research team, was quoted as saying that sequencing the genomes of viral strains from around the world is important to keep track of mutations that are constantly arising. While the SARS-CoV-2 genome codes for more than 25 proteins, a handful of these proteins have been identified so far, the statement added.
The study by a team of researchers from IISc’s Department of Biochemistry also examined host proteins to understand how infected persons respond to the virus. The team discovered around 441 proteins unique to Covid-19 patients. Many of these proteins are speculated to play an important role in the body’s immune response to the virus.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Proteome Research.