COVID-19: New coronavirus mutations found in Maharashtra’s Amravati and Yavatmal districts

COVID-19: New coronavirus mutations found in Maharashtra's Amravati and Yavatmal districts

Pune: Two new mutations have been found in coronavirus samples from Amravati and Yavatmal districts of eastern Maharashtra on Thursday, a senior official told PTI. However, the genome sequencing of the samples did not show the UK, South African or Brazilian strains of the virus.

The researchers also discovered that the mutation can escape neutralizing antibodies. In the past one week, both Yavatmal and Amravati have shown a sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases.

The genome sequencing was conducted on 24 samples — four each from Amravati, Yavatmal and Satara and 12 from Pune, Dr Rajesh Karyekarte, Head of Department of Microbiology at the state-run B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital was quoted by PTI.

“We were asked by the state government to conduct genome sequencing of samples. The D614G strain which is prevalent was found in all the samples,” he said.

But in Amravati, Yavatmal and Satara, they also came across different mutations, Dr Karyekarte said.

“In Amravati, we came across a mutation named E484K in all the four samples. When we inquired if all samples belonged to one family, we were told they were taken from different locations, so the conclusion was that it was a common mutation,” he said.

In Yavatmal samples, they found a mutation named N440K. In Satara sample, a new mutation named V911I was found but the researchers could not find significant scientific references about this mutation in published journals.

All these strains are of A2 type of coronavirus, which is common in India. Maharashtra on Thursday reported over 5,000 new cases after a gap of 75 days.

Maharashtra on Thursday reported over 5,000 new cases after a gap of 75 days.

These spurts in infections are due to the lax behavior amoong people during gatherings, weddings and various functions and noone following physical distancing rule.

Meanwhile, a lockdown has been declared in Amravati, and restrictions inposed in Yavatmal amid rising COVID-19 cases.

The Amravati district administration on Thursday announced a weekend lockdown in Amravati. The lockdown will be implemented from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday, a period during which markets and other establishments will remain shut. 

Maharashtra’s health minister Rajesh Tope and water resources minister Jayant Patil — tested positive for the virus. NCP leader Eknath Khadse and his daughter-in-law and MP Raksha Khadse too have contracted the infection.

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