'Covid-19 found its way to India via frequently travelled countries in Europe, Middle...

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Home / India News / ‘Covid-19 found its way to India via frequently travelled countries in Europe, Middle East’: Study

A group of experts at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have found that Covid-19 virus found its way to India via frequently visited countries in Europe, South Asia, Middle East and Oceania.

“There is a close connection between the source of the virus and the countries that are most travelled by Indians,” the study stated.

The study, with lead authors Mainak Mondal, Ankita Lawarde and Kumaravel Somasundaram from the Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, was published in the scientific journal Current Science.

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The research noted the potential origin of Covid-19 virus in Indians to be in countries “mainly from Europe, Middle East Oceania and South Asia regions, which strongly imply the spread of the virus through most travelled countries”.

The analysis revealed that most Indian SARS-CoV-2 viruses (129 out of 137) show more similarity to that of specific countries.

“In cluster A, Indian samples show more similarity to the viruses found in Oceania, Kuwait and South Asian samples, while in the cluster B, Indian samples show more similarity to mainly European and few numbers of Middle East/South Asian samples,” the study read.

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The findings indicated that majority of Indian SARS-CoV-2 viruses have originated from Europe, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania regions. “A large majority of Indian viral isolates (n = 129), which were collected during March/April 2020, show more similarity with samples from Europe, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania regions,” the experts noted. The remaining Indian isolates (n = 8) have grouped with other clusters which contained most samples from China and East Asia.

Thus, the study concluded the probable source of origin of Indian SARS-CoV-2 viruses to be in countries from Europe and Oceania regions besides the Middle East and South Asian regions.

Worldwide, the number of coronavirus cases have crossed the 7 million-mark with over 4 lakh people killed by the deadly contagion. In India, the Covid-19 tally has jumped to 266,598 - fifth highest in the world after the US, Brazil, Russia and the UK.  

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