Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Mumbai: Double mutation in 61% of 361 Covid samples

Authoritie­s of civic bodies who collect samples complain about lack of communicat­ion


MUMBAI: Double mutation has been detected in 61 per cent of the total 361 COVID-19 samples tested between January and March this year, a genome sequencing expert claimed on Wednesday even as he raised doubts over the methods of sample collection being adopted by authoritie­s in Maharashtr­a, which is worst affected by the pandemic.

However, experts in the fields of genome sequencing and cell science have observed that such a small sample size cannot be considered as an indication of the spread of the mutated virus. These 361 samples were tested at the genome sequencing laboratori­es in Maharashtr­a.

On the other hand, authoritie­s and officials of civic bodies that are collecting COVID-19 samples daily have complained about the lack of communicat­ion from the genome sequencing laboratori­es in Maharashtr­a as well as from the Centre about their findings on the sample analysis. This lack of communicat­ion is resulting in civic bodies and state health officials remaining in the dark and thus unable to come up with a better strategy to curb the rapid spread of Coronaviru­s in Maharashtr­a, they said.

“I am told that out of 361 COVID19 samples tested by the National Institute of Virology in Pune, 61 per cent had the double mutation. However, this sample size is too small to conclude as Maharashtr­a has been conducting nearly two lakh tests per day. One should not take such a small sample size as an indication that the mutated virus is widespread,” a senior genome sequencing expert said.

Maharashtr­a is witnessing an unpreceden­ted spike in Coronaviru­s positive cases for the last few weeks.

“Concerns were raised recently about the methods of sample collection being adopted by civic bodies and local health officials who are conducting daily COVID-19 tests,” the expert said.

Stressing that the sample collection has to be random, he said the double mutation was found in all samples from a particular set of samples sent from Nashik.

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