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No major mutation in Covid virus in India: PMO

No major mutation in Covid virus in India: PMO
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New Delhi: As the work continues to develop an effective vaccine for COVID-19, the government on Saturday said two pan-India studies on the genome of the virus in India suggest it is genetically stable and has shown no major mutation.

There had been concerns in some quarters that any major mutation detected in the novel Coronavirus could hinder the development of an effective vaccine. However, some recent global studies have said the vaccines currently being developed for COVID-19 should not be affected by recent mutations.

Mutation typically refers to the property of a virus to change

when it multiplies and the virus may develop some new strains after

it replicates. In cases, the new strains tend to be less effective and therefore die out soon, while more powerful strains may lead to faster spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, India's Covid caseload went past 74 lakh, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 65

lakh pushing the recovery rate to 87.78 per cent, according to data updated by the Union Health ministry on Saturday.

The Coronavirus death toll climbed to 1,12,998 with the virus claiming 837 lives in a day, while the infection tally mounted to 74,32,680 with 62,212 new cases being reported, the data updated at 8 am showed.

The active cases of Coronavirus infection dropped below eight lakh for the first time in one-and-half months, the ministry said. For nine days in a row, the active cases remained below nine lakh.

There are 7,95,087 active cases of the infection in the country which comprises 10.70 per cent of the total caseload, while the recoveries have surged to 65,24,595, according to the data.

After a review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the COVID-19 pandemic situation, and vaccine delivery, distribution and administration preparedness, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that three vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which two are in Phase II and one is in Phase-III.

The PMO further said: "Two pan-India studies on the Genome of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) in India conducted by ICMR and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) suggest that the virus is genetically stable and there is no major mutation in the virus."

Last month, Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan had said no significant or drastic mutations have been found in strains of SARS-CoV-2 in India till now.

He had also said the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) was conducting large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains collected over a few months and detailed results on mutations of the virus will be available in early October.

Replying to a query on mutations of SARS-COV2, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava had said at a press briefing earlier this week that minor changes called "drifts" may happen from time to time, but major genetic mutations of viruses or "shifts" may happen in about a decade or two.

In this context, the effectiveness of a vaccine will not be determined by minor "drifts", he had said.

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