No new strain of Covid-19 in Mumbai Metropolitan Region: Tata Memorial Centre
The hospital on Monday refuted a report by a section of media that researchers from Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) in Kharghar found three mutations of the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, till September 2020 and that one of the three was linked to the new strain found in South Africa.
A section of media had reported that researchers from Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) in Kharghar found three mutations of the Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, till September 2020 and that one of the three was linked to the new strain found in South Africa. However, the hospital refuted the report on Monday.
According to the report, TMC’s Kharghar unit called ACTREC found three mutations — K417N, E484K and N501Y — in three patients in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region out of the 700 Covid-19 samples it put through gene sequencing. Of these, E484K mutation is similar to the strain found in South Africa.
The hospital refuted the claim and ssaid, “It is hereby clarified that no sample in the set sequenced in ACTREC, TMC had either the UK or the South African variant of this virus. The South African variant is characterised by the presence of all three mutations, ie K417N, E484K and N501Y, which was seen in none of our patients.”
A media report had stated that E484K strain is less susceptible to the antibodies produced in the body against Sars-CoV-2. In response to that, Dr RA Badwe, director of TMC, said, “These claims are uncertain and speculative at this point of time. All the studies which claim this are under peer review,” he said.
MC carries out genetic sequencing for cancer patients, most of them from Navi Mumbai, Panvel and Raigad. During the ongoing pandemic, the hospital also started testing and sequencing of Sars-CoV-2.
Dr Badwe also said that viruses undergo modification when they remain in the environment for a long time. “But so far, the presence of any genetic mutations in the virus has not yet had an adverse impact at the population level in India,” he added.