Covid second wave: Kerala to study coronavirus mutant strains
Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has decided to conduct a study to confirm whether the second wave of Covid pandemic is due to the mutant virus strains. Though crowding of people without maintaining social distance is seen as the main reason, some of the countries believe the fast spread is due to coronavirus mutations.
Random samples will be collected from all districts for testing.
The feasibility study on the spike protein of the virus at the Kozhikode medical college and Rajiv Gandhi Institute is being looked into. Studies will also be conducted in association with Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology under CSIR.
Earlier the studies were conducted on 179 mutant strains of coronavirus at the Kozhikode medical college. The experts evaluate that since the SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus, the chances for genetic mutations are higher.
It is reported that B.1.617 virus variant is being spread in Karnataka, Maharashtra, New Delhi, West Bengal and Gujarat. The virus found in Kerala also shows similar characteristics. The UK variant (B.1.1.7) was identified last September. The death rate of the virus is higher. In October, the South Africa variant and in January the American variant (B.1.351) were identified. The third variant (P1) was found in travellers from Brazil who arrived in Japan.
The UK, Brazil and South Africa variants were considered deadly. 113 persons retuned from these states have been confirmed of Covid in Kerala so far. 109 of them have tested negative. 11 among them were identified with mutant virus strains.
The state was able to successfully check the spread of these virus strain. However, only when the preventive vaccine is administered to 60 percent of the population, the society will attain herd immunity.