Why more deaths in Delhi, TN, Mumbai? Blame new strain

New Delhi: The widespread deaths of COVID-19 patients in Mumbai, Delhi and Tamil Nadu have been attributed by the scientists at Hyderabad’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) to a new virulent strain, known as 'Clade A3i,' which is different from one found in China.

"Here is a fresh preprint on genome analysis of SARS-COV2 (COVID-19) spread in India. The results show a distinct cluster of virus population, uncharacterised thus far, which is prevalent in India – called the CLADE A3i," CCMB tweeted.

It said: "This cluster seems to have originated from an outbreak in February 2020 and spread through India. This comprises of 41 per cent of all SARS-COV2 genomes from Indian samples and 3.5 per cent of global genomes submitted into public domain."

According to its study, which is still under peer review by bioRxiv Journal, Clade A3i has not been found in any other part of the world. The research institute's scientists say the virus has mutated in India because of different genetic material found here. The coronavirus strains found in other countries are named as A2a, A3, B and B4. This cluster has four different strains. Of these, C13730T has been found to be the most virulent.

The CCMB's study says this straing has been found in the highest proportions in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Delhi. It was also found in lower concentration in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The scientists get cracking after collecting the samples first from Telangana on March 11 and subsequently from Delhi, Maharashtra and other states. When these samples were analysed, it was found that a new cluster had emerged in February and led to the mutation of the virus and further spread of the infection, they said.

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