N440K prevalence minimal now: Andhra Pradesh Health Department

Presently very infectious B.1617 (double mutant) and B.1 are major variants in prevalence, says Health Department.

Andhra Pradesh Health, Medical and Family Welfare Department stated that the novel coronavirus variant B.1.36 (N440K) was found way back in June-July last year in the State along with Karnataka and Telangana. It was prevalent between December 2020 and February 2021, dropped drastically in March and was very minimal now as per the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), said the Health Department in a release on Thursday.

“In April two major strains – B.1.617 (double mutant) and B.1 – were identified in the positive samples collected from A.P., Karnataka and Telangana.

“They are very infectious and were also spreading in the younger age groups apart from the adults,” it stated.

The Department informed that on average 250 positive samples were being sent to CCMB for genome sequencing every month from the laboratories in A.P.

Further, it was stated that the World Health Organisation has considered the lineage B.1.617 as Variant of Interest (VoI) from India in the COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update dated April 25 but there was no mention of N440K which as per research data was not very virulent.

“N440K was efficient in cell culture system in experimental conditions. It doesn’t mean it will behave the same way in humans or a complicated pandemic scenario,” the release said.

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