''Delta variant prominently found in COVID-19 cases in Varanasi''
Hyderabad, June 4: Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), here, have collaboratively sequenced genomes of coronavirus variants in the temple town and adjoining areas.
Their study reports at least seven major strains of coronavirus circulating in these regions, a press release from the CCMB said on Friday.
The multi-disciplinary research unit headed at BHU collected samples from Varanasi and areas around the city, mostly in April 2021, it said.
The team at CCMB sequenced these samples and found out that there were at least seven major variants circulating in the region. As many as 130 samples were sequenced in this study.
Among the variants of concern (VoC), 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 the country, Prof Singh, who heads the multi-disciplinary research Unit at BHU, said.
Just as in most of the country, 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 VoCs such as the B.1.351, detected in South Africa for the first time, were also found in this area, said Dr Rakesh Mishra, Advisor, CCMB. The study confirms yet again that the delta variant is the most widespread coronavirus variant in the country right now.
But at the same time, it is imperative to keep an eye on the other emerging variants in the country to prevent another unprecedented surge of cases, he added.