Covid-19 virus mutating faster in Bengaluru, reveals IISC study
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is mutating at a faster rate in Bengaluru than in the rest of the country, a recent study by the Indian Institute of Science has revealed. The IISC team, lead by Utpal Tatu, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, found 27 mutations in three isolates of SARS-CoV-2 with over 11 mutations per sample, while the national average is 8.4 and the global average is 7.3, the study, as reported by news agency PTI, revealed.
To understand the spread and evolutionary history of the virus, the team constructed a global phylogenetic tree, or a tree of relatedness, of viral isolates using the sequence data. In this analysis, it has been found that the Bengaluru isolates are most closely related to the one from Bangladesh.
Mutations of a virus are not surprising as it denotes just a change in a nucleic acid base or amino acid molecule. Mutations are not variants; they accumulate and eventually generate variants. A study by Hyderabad's CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has said around 7,684 mutations of SARS-CoV-2 are there in India.
The research team has also detected 13 different proteins most of them previously unidentified from clinical samples. "One such protein called Orf9b, which suppresses the hosts' immune response, had been predicted, but the IISc team provided the first evidence of its expression", a statement issued by the research team said.
The study has been published in the Journal of Proteome Research.
The study was primarily aimed at understanding how the virus is changing and is not about the recent spike in the number of cases in Bengaluru or across thee country. Mutations of a virus do take place and the Centre has dismissed any links between new mutations recently found in Maharashtra and the resurgence of cases in the state.
(With PTI Inputs)