India Successfully Isolates, Cultures UK-variant Of Coronavirus Strain: ICMR

India has successfully isolated and cultured the new ‘more infectious’ strain of Covid-19, which had originated in Britain recently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturday said. Taking to Twitter, the country’s apex medical body wrote: “UK-variant of the virus, with all signature changes, is now successfully isolated and cultured at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) from the clinical specimens collected from UK-returnees.” ICMR said that Sars-CoV-2, the killer virus causing coronavirus, was being tracked through the countrywide network of ICMR-laboratories since the early days of the pandemic in the country. Notably, no country has yet reported successful isolation and culture of the UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2. In India, Vero cell lines were used by the scientists of ICMR-NIV to culture the UK-variant of the virus, it added. The country put in place a pro-active and preventive strategy to detect and contain the variant. So far, the new variant of Covid-19 has been detected in 29 UK returnees through genome sequencing. The UK Government had recently announced that the newly identified strain of Covid-19 found in their population is up to 70% more transmissible, following which India sprung into action. The new UK Variant has already been reported by Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore. From 25 November to 23 December midnight, around 33,000 passengers had disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by States and UTs to RT-PCR tests to track down the mutant strain of Covid-19.

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