New coronavirus variant B.1.1.28.2 detected in India by NIV Pune, isolated from international passengers

 New coronavirus variant B.1.1.28.2 detected in India by NIV Pune, isolated from international passengers

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The variant was isolated from nasal/ throat swabs from international travellers from the UK and Brazil

NEW DELHI

A new variant of coronavirus B.1.1.28.2 has been detected in India through genome sequencing conducted by the National Institute of Virology, Pune. The variant was isolated from nasal and throat swabs from international travellers from Brazil and the UK. The pathogenicity of the isolate was assessed in Syrian hamster model and compared with B.1 variant.

The new variant induced body weight loss, caused viral replication in the respiratory track, lung lesions, and severe lung pathology in infected Syrian hamsters in comparison to D614G variant (B.1).

The test was conducted for about seven days on nine Syrian hamsters. The study was performed in Vero CCL81 cells and genomic characterisation by next-generation sequencing.

Experts opine that the new variant is similar to the Delta variant and could be more dangerous than the Alpha variant. The sera from B.1.1.28.2 infected hamsters efficiently neutralized the D614G variant virus whereas 6-fold reduction in the neutralization was seen in case of D614G variant infected hamsters’ sera with the B.1.1.28.2.

Agencies

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