Delta strain predominated during second wave in Chandigarh; reveals PGIMER
Chandigarh, June 21, 2021:
“During the second wave Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) were found to be present among 61% and 30% of the samples respectively which were sent for whole genome sequencing to NCDC, New Delhi. The majority of these samples (92%) belonged to residents of Chandigarh. Thus, during the second wave in UT Chandigarh Delta strain was the main circulating strain’, informed Prof. Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER Chandigarh on Monday.
Detailing further, Director PGIMER stated, “Department of Virology, PGIMER has been carrying out the COVID-19 testing by RT PCR since March 2020 and till date more than 2.5 lakhs samples have been tested. To study whether there was any change in the circulating strain in UT Chandigarh during the second wave, 25 stored positive samples of the period 05.05.2021 to 24.05.2021 were sent for whole genome sequencing to NCDC, New Delhi.”
“The majority of these samples (92%) belonged to residents of Chandigarh. During the second wave Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) were found to be present among 61% and 30% respectively. In two samples sequencing could not be performed due to low content of genomic material, inferring that during the second wave in UT Chandigarh Delta strain was the main circulating strain,” elaborated Prof. Jagat Ram.
Prof. G. D. Puri, Dean (Academics) PGIMER further confirmed that in the samples sent from admitted patients in Nehru Hospital Extension Block where severe and critical COVID positive cases are admitted and all the samples belonged to Delta strain.
It is noteworthy that 80% of the patients who had died of covid19 harbored the alpha strain. Fortunately, no case of Delta plus variant was reported in the samples sent, added Prof. Puri.
With this backdrop, Prof. Jagat Ram advised the public to adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour and also to opt for vaccination in increased numbers so as to break the transmission chain completely and to halt the impending threat of third wave keeping in view the emerging and fast spreading delta and delta plus variant. A major sign of relief is the cooling down of the second wave and the total toll of positive patients is low in UT Chandigarh but still, there is no room for complacency.”