The rise in Covid-19 cases in India in the last one week, especially in the states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu, is raising concern that the surge in new cases is related to new variants of SARS-CoV-2. Or not? According to a report, behind such sudden rise in cases of infection, there are more events than virus mutations, where there is a high risk of spreading the infection i.e. super spreader event.
Experts like Dr. V Ravi, Retire Professor of Neurobiology and Nodal Officer at NIMHAN for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 of Government of Karnataka told Moneycontrol that the new variant of the virus is the reason behind the growing new case in Maharashtra. There is no evidence to prove it. He said that there is a super spreader event behind the surge in virus cases. Due to this, it changed into a community spread and now they are facing difficulties in testing, tracing and tracking as well.
Viruses such as coronaviruses, which contain genetic material such as RNA, mutate all the time. Most mutations are so small that they do not significantly affect how the virus will function or sometimes make the virus vulnerable.
In some cases, a mutation helps the virus gain the ability to dodge the immune system, infect people, and spread again. For example, the SARS-CoV-2 virus performs one or two mutations a month. It is common and much less common than other viruses such as HIV and influenza. The more the virus is circulated, the greater the probability of mutating. Measures such as wearing face masks, keeping hands clean, and social distancing, along with mass vaccination, will help reduce the scope for the virus to spread.
Two new mutated variants of the SAR-CoV-2 virus, N440K and E484Q, have been found in Maharashtra and some other states. The government had earlier clarified that these two mutants cannot be held responsible for the current state of Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra.