Apex Level Advisory Committee has mentioned in its report that most variants of coronavirus and Indian Double Mutant are spotted in Jammu in comparison to Kashmir due to several reasons. Committee has also suggested government to ensure that people strictly follow covid guidelines and vaccination of maximum number of people can be done as soon as possible.
Sources informed that 306 samples were sent from Government Medical College Jammu to be reviewed. Out of these, sequences from 228 samples have been generated. Other samples could not be generated because they were either of poor quality or their volume was insufficient.
72 samples were collected till December 2020. 16 samples were collected in January 2021, 90 samples in February 2021 and 128 samples in March 2021. 215 of these sample donors belonged to Jammu, 11 to Udhampur, 6 to Poonch, 9 to Kathua, 59 to Kashmir and 6 to Command Hospital.
70 samples were found to be having mutations that were classified as VOC (Variants of Concern) or VOI (Variants of Interest) and/or other important mutations. 26 samples showed single mutations, two mutations were found in 13 samples and multiple mutations in all others.
Sources told that mutation B.1.1.7 (UK variant) was noticed in 23 samples. It shows greater infectivity and spread in the community. Authorities found this mutation to be prevalent in neighbouring Punjab and it was carried to Jammu by travellers. Committee also found that ten samples had mutations which are similar to UK mutations with the same signature and could be as infectious as mutation B.1.1.7.
Committee found B.1.617 (Indian Double Mutation) in 7 samples. This mutation is the first one which is highly capable of evading antibodies and increased infectivity. Apex Level Advisory Committee has noted that various variants including Indian Double Mutant are found in Jammu region more than Kashmir division. This is the reason why Jammu witnessed more covid deaths than Kashmir.
Committee recommended that we need to vaccinate a significant number of population, otherwise situation can get out of hand. We must immediately vaccinate 30% to 40% of total regional population in order to effectively fight the pandemic and control the surge.