Andhra COVID Commander Centre chief says data does not establish N440k variant more virulent
New Delhi, May 06: Media reports claimed that N440K variant prevailing in different parts of Andhra Pradesh is more dangerous than the previous variants.
In a clarification, the Andhra Pradesh COVID Command Centre Chairman, Dr. K S Jawahar Redy said, " on average around 250 samples are being sent to Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) from the labs of the state every month, where genome sequencing of southern states -- Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka -- are being carried out. The research data of CCMB far does not establish that N440K is a variant of interest and is very virulent."
"Although, N440K variant shown to be efficient in cell culture system in experimental conditions, it is important to remember that just because a variant behaves a certain way in cell cultures (with no competition, and in controlled settings), it does not mean it will behave the same way in humans, or in a complicated pandemic scenario. N440K story is one such example."
"It is pertinent to note that Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update dated April 25 issued by WHO mentions about lineage B1617 as VOI (Variant of Interest)from India and does not mention about variant N440K. If this variant is of such public health concern as reported in certain sections of media, it should have by now found place WHO reports as well as ICMR reports, it added. "Hence it is clarified that research data so far does not establish that N440K is variant of interest and is very virulent," Reddy said.