As a new variant of novel Coronavirus detected in the UK has been raising concerns all over the world, Indian scientists have detected at least 19 variants of the virus with the ability to evade antibodies.
The team of Indian scientists also found that out of these 19 SARS-CoV-2 variants one has the capability to cause re-infection. The researchers studied as many as 120 unique mutated variants of the novel virus. They noticed that across 63 countries 86 such variants possess the ability to dodge the immune response of the human body.
The new study was conducted by a team of researchers from various institutes under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), including the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi, Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), CSIR-HRDC in Uttar Pradesh, and Kurnool Medical College in Andhra Pradesh.
The Research Finding
The scientists examined the dataset of 2,65,079 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from across the world to understand the genetic epidemiology of these variants. The data was collected from the GISAID, a global science initiative and primary source that provides open-access to genomic data of viruses.
The team sequenced 1,154 genomes. They found that 19 mutations out of the 86 variants associated with immune escapes were found in India. The investigation of 26,917 genomes pointed out that 86 out of the 120 genetic variants associated with immune escapes from 63 countries. "Our analysis suggests that a number of genetic variants associated with immune escape have emerged in global populations," the scientists said in a research paper which has been uploaded to a preprint server and is yet to be published.
While conducting the investigation the team also came across a number of escape variants in different countries. N501Y, one of the variants in the recently reported emergent SARS-CoV-2 lineage from the UK, was present in a total of 290 genomes, including genomes from the UK, Australia, South Africa, US, Denmark, and Brazil, said the study.
"Out of 14,222 genomes analyzed from Australia, 24 immune escape associated variants mapped to 9,895 genomes (70 percent). Of significant frequency was the S477N variant which was present in 9,541 genomes (67 percent) from Australia," the study added.
One of the major findings of this research was the detection of a mutation, S: N440K, which is responsible for one re-infection case that emerged in India's Noida in Uttar Pradesh. According to the scientists, this genetically tweaked variant of novel Coronavirus has a frequency of 2.1 percent in India.