A study conducted by the Banaras Hindu University's Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has found that there are at least seven major variants of coronavirus in Varanasi and its adjoining areas. These include B.1.617 and B.1.351 (Beta).
The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India. Its sub-lineage is the B.1.617.2 variant.
Rakesh Mishra, adviser at CCMB, has been quoted as saying: “Just as in most of India, the B.1.617.2 variant (aka Delta variant) was the most common one in the samples we studied. They were found among 36 per cent of the total samples. Other variants of concern (VoCs) such as the B.1.351, detected in South Africa for the first time, was also found in this area (sic)".
He has added that the study conducted at CCMB confirms that the Delta variant is the most widespread coronavirus variant in India currently.
He has said that it is imperative to "keep an eye on the other emerging variants in the country to prevent another unprecedented surge of cases".
The Multidisciplinary Research Unit of the BHU is reported to have collected samples from Varanasi and from areas around Varanasi in April.
The Hindu has reported that CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad and BHU, in a collaboration, have sequenced genomes of coronavirus variants in Varanasi and adjoining areas.
Professor Royana Singh from the Multidisciplinary Research Unit has been quoted as saying: "Among the VoCs, the most predominant variant we found in our study was B.1.617. This variant was also reported to be one of the major drivers of the second Covid-19 wave in India".
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