B.1.617 variant found in 65% of samples sequenced, says health minister

union health minister dr harsh vardhan

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that B.1.617, the variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) which has been identified as “variant of concern” by the World Health organization (WHO), has become the dominant one in the country. Vardhan was speaking at the 27th group of ministers’ (GoM) meeting on Covid-19.

“When we talk about genome sequencing, over 25,739 samples have been sequenced by INSACOG and 9,508 were found with variants of concern. Out of these, B.1.617 variant was found in almost 65 per cent of the samples making it one of the most common variants,” said Vardhan.

The INSACOG is a consortium of 10 institutes of the Centre, that is involved in the genome sequencing of the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

The health minister also said that state governments have been requested to send the samples regularly for genome sequencing.

Vardhan further highlighted that depite being a Sunday, more than 19 lakh samples were tested for Covid-19 on May 23, taking the cumulative total across the country beyond 33 crore.

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