Samples sent for genome sequencing to identify new Covid-19 variant, says Maharashtra government

PUNE: The Maharashtra government has sent a substantial number of samples from various districts for genome sequencing to verify if any new mutation of SARS-CoV-2 has taken place, with the aim being to identify new COVID-19 variant Delta Plus or AY.1, an official said here on Monday.

The highly transmissible Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has mutated further to form the Delta Plus or AY.1 variant and it is said to be resistant to the monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment for COVID-19 recently authorized in India, he added.

“We have sent substantial samples from various districts to investigate if there is any prevalence of Delta-plus ( or AY.1). The reports are expected to come by Tuesday,” said Dr.

Pradip Awate, State Surveillance Officer.

He said the state’s Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) had signed an MOU with CSIR-Institute of Integrative and Genomic Biology (IGIB) under which BJ Medical here will be the nodal lab to perform genome sequencing of the samples.

In its latest report on coronavirus variants, updated till last Friday, the health agency said Delta Plus was present in six genomes from India as of June 7.