India failed to predict its devastating second wave. Now scientists say more must be done to prevent a third

Despite general acceptance that a third wave would come from a newly emergent variant, genome sequencing in India has actually declined since the waning of the second wave, as Vishwam Sankaran reports from Chennai

Friday 06 August 2021 17:41
<p>Municipal employees work in a disaster management room at their headquarters in Mumbai</p>

Municipal employees work in a disaster management room at their headquarters in Mumbai

When reported cases of Covid-19 began rising sharply in parts of the Indian state of Maharashtra in early March, PhD candidate Bani Jolly from the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in Delhi began noticing mutations in the novel coronavirus samples from the region.

These were changes in the virus genome that had been reported previously in the context of “antibody escape,” or the ability of the virus to evade the activity of the body’s immune system.

“In March, we found that a lot of the samples we were sequencing had two such mutations. At the same time, other labs from India were also observing that such samples were growing in numbers,” Jolly, whose lab is part of the pan-Indian consortium to monitor the evolution of the novel coronavirus, tells The Independent.

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