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Health Ministry confirms two new COVID-19 strains; says variants not behind spike in Maharashtra, Kerala

The country has already reported three mutated strains of the coronavirus - the UK strain, the South African strain and the Brazilian strain

Health Ministry confirms two new COVID-19 strains; says variants not behind spike in Maharashtra, Kerala

India on Tuesday reported two new strains of the coronavirus. The two variants - N440K and E484K - have been found in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana, said the Union Health Ministry.

However, the Centre said there is no scientific evidence to prove that these two strains are responsible for the rising cases in Maharashtra and Kerala.

"There are two variants being talked about - N440K variant and E484K variant. Yes, these variants are there in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana," Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said on Tuesday.

He added, "Based on the information available to us, yes these variants are there but there's no reason today for us to believe, on basis of scientific information that these are responsible for the upsurge of the outbreak that you see in some districts of Maharashtra and Kerala."

Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research, also said that there is no direct relation between the surging cases and the two strains.

The country has already reported three mutated strains of the coronavirus - the UK strain, the South African strain and the Brazilian strain.

He informed that as many as 187 people are infected with the UK strain. Whereas the South African strain has been detected in 6 and the Brazilian in 1 till now.

The Health Ministry said that Kerala and Maharashtra continue to account for 75 per cent of the active cases in the country.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, "There are still 2 states that have 75 per cent active cases - Kerala and Maharashtra. Kerala has 38 per cent of the total active cases of the country while Maharashtra has 37 per cent of the total active cases. Karnataka has 4 per cent and Tamil Nadu has 2.78 per cent active cases."

Also read: Covaxin phase-3 data likely to be out in 2 weeks: Bharat Biotech

Also read: Now, 179 COVID-19 testing kits available in India; about 40 indigenous

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