AHMEDABAD: Seventy per cent of Gujarat’s total Covid cases and 80% of the deaths have been recorded in Ahmedabad district. Behind those disquieting numbers is an alarming statistic: The district is being attacked by 20-odd variants of coronavirus.
An analysis by the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) has revealed that Ahmedabad district has the highest number of coronavirus variants in the state.
The state-funded centre had collected 227 samples of the virus from 21 cities and towns of Gujarat. Researchers compared the samples to the original Wuhan strain to understand the variance and mutations over time and regions.
Experts said that a variation should be understood as a 1-15% difference in the genetic code of viruses — a minuscule twitch in form. Experts had earlier pointed out that coronavirus was mutating twice every month, adapting to local conditions and hosts.
“The virus remains the same, but it shows a slight mutation over time and there are also regional variations,” said a GBRC official. The official said that while there are three primary variants in Gujarat, Ahmedabad district has been affected by the most dominant variant. The analysis revealed that while cities such as Vadodara and Surat have two to three variants but one primary strain, Ahmedabad district has a major group in which 20-odd variants were recorded.
In a May webinar, Prof Chaitanya Joshi, the director of the GBRC, had pointed out that Ahmedabad district accounted for 85% of mutations of the virus. “The identification of the dominant strain is crucial for the development of a vaccine,” he had said.
Experts said that the study not only took into consideration major cities but also smaller towns to understand the spread of virus variants. The aim was to identify the dominant strain found in the majority of the population.
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