HYDERABAD: Covid-19 in Varanasi and its adjoining areas, many of which fall in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency, is being driven by the Coronavirus variant, Delta, formerly identified as variant B.1.617, the city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has said.
The premier research lab, part of the CSIR lab network in the country, said a study of Coronavirus variants it undertook with the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, in which they collaboratively sequenced genomes of Coronavirus variants in Varanasi and its neighbouring areas, found at least seven major strains of the virus circulating in these regions. The samples that were sequenced were mostly collected in April by the Multidisciplinary Research Unit at BHU and in all, 130 samples were sequenced in this study.
This Delta variant, which was found in 36 per cent of samples collected by BHU, has been among the primary drivers of the Covid-19 second wave in the country. The study also found that the B.1.351 variant, renamed Beta, which was first detected in South Africa, was also found in the area.
“This study confirms yet again that the Delta variant is the most widespread coronavirus variant in the country right now. But at the same time, it is imperative for us to keep an eye on other emerging variants in the country to prevent another unprecedented surge of cases,” Dr Rakesh Mishra, advisor, CCMB said.