Refuting various claims that the COVID-19 variant found in Andhra Pradesh, N440K, is very virulent in nature, the Department of Health, Government of Andhra Pradesh, has said that there is no scientific evidence to establish that the virus variant was more infectious than other variants.
In a clarification, the AP government stated that around 250 samples are being sent to the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) for genome sequencing from the labs in Andhra every month and the research date of CCMB does not establish that N440K is a variant of interest and is virulent
“The research data so so far doesn’t establish that N440K is a variant of interest and is very virulent,” the department said in a release. There were reports that the virus strain was “15 times more virulent than a normal virus and could result in speedy and dangerous health hazards.”
“N440K strain of coronavirus (B.1.36) was detected in June-July 2020 from the samples of AP, Karnataka, Telangana. This strain was prevalent in December 2020 and January and February 2021 and dropped down drastically in March and now the share of N440K among the positives is very minimal,” it said.