In a worrisome development, a sample sent from Kashmir for genetic sequencing has been found to have the lesser-known N440K mutation by the India SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG). This is the first case Covid-19 mutant strain N440K detected in Kashmir.
The variant N440K is a lesser-known mutant strain of Covid-19. The same mutation has been found in some samples from the Jammu division. It has also been commonly found in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. N440K was first reported from parts of India in February.
Scientists say that the N440K variant is spreading and could show greater infectivity or worse clinical symptoms which means it could escape immunity, which may be the reason why some people, even after the second dose of the vaccine are still getting COVID.
A release by CSIR-CCMB reveals a study that finds that a few novel variants are spreading more in some states of India. At that time, it was in the south.
“We now have emerging evidence that N440K is spreading a lot more in southern states. Closer surveillance is needed to understand its spread properly. Accurate and timely detection of new variants that may show greater infectivity or worse clinical symptoms, including immune escape, will be extremely important to preempt disastrous consequences,” said Dr Mishra.
Senior officials of the J and K government on Thursday said that samples are being routinely sent to the INSACOG to track the trends of the swiftly mutating virus. “We have received the reports of close to 118 samples that had been sent for sequencing. One of these has been found to have the mutation,” said a government official.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday declared a 34-hour curfew from 8 pm on Saturday to 6 am Sunday amid a huge spike in coronavirus cases.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Jammu and Kashmir surged to 1,58,374 on Saturday as 2,030 people tested positive for the virus while the death count climbed to 2,126 with a daily jump of 15 fatalities, officials said.
It is commonly known that viruses mutate. A virus such as COVID-19 needs a host in order to thrive, it lives in the air or aerosol form for three hours, and failing to find a human host, will die. The best possible way to kill the virus is through masking and distancing and isolation. While work has to go on, the nation has to have innovative ways to keep up the work and business, while avoiding crowding, ceremonies, and big events. Red-hot zones have to be marked and quarantined. But it is important to promote and help businesses and shops to run to strengthen the economy. A balance has to be maintained.
The most fatal pandemic Bubonic Plague recorded in human history, caused the death of 75–200 million people, called the Black Plague monstrously took away lives without mercy It is said the plague ended through the implementation of quarantines.
Presently, the mass burials and cremations happening all over the nation show us that COVID is sweeping over the country drastically. We are in a global war against the pandemic, so let’s fight it together by following the COVID protocols. The virus does not regard our religions, castes, nations, our social status, our color or wealth, or poverty. We are in this together!