Thiruvananthapuram: Thirteen Coronavirus variants that have undergone mutations capable of evading the body's immune system have been detected in Kerala. Of this, the variant 'N440K' calls for more caution.
The situation can be brought under control only if precautionary measures such as wearing masks and hand hygiene are strictly followed.
The first results from the genome sequencing conducted by the Institute of Genomics And Integrative Biology, along with the state government:
Sequencing was done on 658 of the 2569 samples from 14 districts. These samples are from the December-January period.
A total of 2174 genetic mutations were found. Of this, 13 had immune escape ability and five were highly transmissible. Though the UK variant was found in one sample, it was prevented from spreading further.
Mutations with immune escape ability were found in 113 samples. Fortunately, not more than one immune escape protein was found in each sample. The situation is deemed to be serious if more than one is detected. Such a variant was detected in South Africa.
The N440K variant was not detected in the 179 samples collected at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital in September. But now, N440K was found in 10 per cent of the samples in certain districts.
This spread has happened in the last three months, and was found to be more in northern districts and Kottayam.
S Africa, Brazil variants in India
The South African and Brazilian variants of the Coronavirus have been detected in India.
ICMR director general Balram Bhargava has said that the South African strain of the Coronavirus was found in two people who arrived from Angola and Tanzania, and two who arrived from S Africa in January.
The Brazilian variant of the Coronavirus was confirmed in a person who returned from Brazil earlier this month.