Hyderabad: The Delta variant (B.1.617.2), the mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused the second wave in the country, is the most dominant variant of concern in Telangana. Often described as the fastest and fittest, the delta variant is truly living up to its billing, as within a matter of two to three months, it managed to become the dominant variant of SARS-CoV-2, not only in Telangana but also in the neighbouring States.
Based on the latest genome sequencing results from the India Covid-19 Genomic Surveillance initiative, 81 per cent of samples from Telangana that were sequenced by genetic researchers consisted of the delta variant while the presence of the alpha variant (B 1.1.7), the SARS-CoV-2 mutation that first surfaced in the United Kingdom, was just six per cent.
In February, March and April, the Beta variant (B.1.351) that first surfaced in South Africa was also quite dominant in Telangana. However, by May, the Beta variant faded, as the delta variant spread at a rapid pace. Back in February, the presence of the Beta variant was about 13 per cent in Telangana, which eventually increased to 35 per cent in March. However, as the Delta variant gathered momentum, the Beta variant faded away to one per cent among the Covid samples that were genetically sequenced.
The Alpha variant (B 1.1.7) in February was found in 62 per cent of Covid samples in Telangana. However, by May-June, the B.1.1.7 was also replaced by the B 1. 617.2, which now dominates across the State. The spread of the variants of concern of SARS-CoV-2 in the neighbouring States sharing the borders with Telangana is also quite uniform. The Delta variant continues to dominate and is found in more than 90 per cent of the Covid samples tested in all the States that have common borders with Telangana including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
In Maharashtra, 90 per cent of the Covid samples sequenced have the Delta variant while in Andhra Pradesh, it is close to 91 per cent. Similar is the situation in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. In fact, in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, the Delta variant dominates fully i.e. 100 per cent with no other variant of concern getting detected in Covid samples sequenced by researchers.
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