The N440K variant of coronavirus, which wreaked havoc during the first wave of the pandemic in the country is diminishing and likely to disappear soon and getting replaced by new variants such as B1617 and B117, scientists at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said.

Dismissing media reports that N440K is the variant causing chaos in Visakhapatnam and other parts of Andhra Pradesh, Divya Tej Sowpati a scientist at CCMB said while N440K was indeed a mutation of concern in South India during and after the first wave, current data show it is replaced by new variants such as B1617 and B117.

“N440K is at very low levels in Visakhapatnam and Andhra Pradesh in general.

It is there in less than 5 per cent of the samples. It is incorrect to say it is causing havoc.

The B1617 variant is dominating now in most parts of the country, Sowpati told PTI.

Advisor to CCMB in a tweet said, “N440K variant of SARS-CoV-2 is diminishing and likely to disappear soon,”

Further elaborating, Sowpati said it was difficult to state as to how many variants exist in the world now because every time it mutates and replicates.

Some variants are more infectious than the others, but it can’t be specified if a particular one is more dangerous.

While comparing the data from Maharashtra, it was found that the increase in the B1617 is seen in February than March 2021 and there was reduction in N440K, he noted.

In Maharashtra, the second wave of COVID-19 started a month and half earlier than the four southern states along with the explosion of B1617 at the expense of N440K, Sowpati added.

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