The new variant is likely to cause severe symptoms.
A new Covid-19 variant, the B.11.28.2 which is likely to cause severe symptoms, has been detected through genome sequencing of travellers from the UK and Brazil to India by the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
The new variant, according to media reports, is likely to cause severe symptoms. Pathogenicity evaluation revealed increased disease severity and the need for screening of vaccine efficacy.
“The B.18.104.22.168 variant was found more pathogenic in hamsters producing severe pneumonia in comparison with B.1 lineage variant,” said the study. “The B.1 variant infected hamster sera showed reduced neutralization against B.22.214.171.124.”
The study points towards the necessity of genomic surveillance and characterization of the SARS-CoV-2 variants to understand its pathogenicity and immune escape potential for preparedness, it added.
The variant also induced body weight loss, viral replication in the respiratory tract, lung lesions and caused severe lung pathology in the infected Syrian hamster model, it added.
The study emphasised on the need for genomic surveillance and characterization of SARS-CoV-2 variants to understand their pathogenicity and immune scape potential to prepare for counter measures.
A news report cited experts who said the variant was similar to the Delta variant, which was the cause for the second Covid-19 wave in India, and could be more dangerous than the Alpha variant.