NIV researchers identify B. variant of COVID-19: What we know thus far-India News , Firstpost

The new variant was found to induce body weight loss and caused viral replication in the respiratory track, lung lesions in Syrian hamsters

Representational image. AP

Pune’s National Institute of Virology (NIV) has found a new COVID-19 variant — B. — through genome sequencing of samples from international travellers from the United Kingdom and Brazil.

Researchers at NIV assessed the pathogenicity (potential ability to cause disease) of the variant in Syrian hamsters and compared it with the B.1 variant, News18 reported. The new variant was found to induce body weight loss, cause viral replication in the respiratory track, lung lesions, and severe lung pathology in infected Syrian hamsters in comparison to D614G variant (B.1).

However, a two-dose Covaxin regimen has been shown to significantly boost antibody and neutralising efficacy against the variant.

The study was conducted for about seven days on nine Syrian hamsters.

An article in Times Now quoted experts as saying that the new variant is similar to the Delta variant and could be more dangerous than the Alpha variant.


The detection of the new variant comes a week after the World Health Organisation said that only one strain of the COVID-19 Delta variant first detected in India was now considered “of concern”, while two other strains had been downgraded.

The B.1.617 variant of the virus, which has in part been blamed for India’s explosive outbreak, has been dubbed a triple mutant variant since it is split into three lineages.

The new variant has emerged as a new concern even as India reported less than one lakh new coronavirus infections after a gap of 63 days.

A single-day rise of 86,498 cases were registered, the lowest in 66 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,89,96,473,

The COVID-19 death toll climbed to 3,51,309 with 2,123 daily deaths, the lowest in around 47 days, the data updated at 8 am showed.

A total of 81,466 new cases were recorded in a span of 24 hours on 2 April.

The active cases reduced to 13,03,702 comprising 4.50 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has improved to 94.29 per cent.

A net decline of 97,907 cases has been recorded in the COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

With inputs from PTI

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