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There is no direct relation between the recent surge in COVID19 cases in Maharashtra and some other States with the mutant virus strains N440K and E484Q of COVID19. This was clarified by Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR at the weekly Press Conference on COVID19, here today.

DG, ICMR further clarified that these two virus strains have been detected in other countries too and are not specific to India. Moreover, they have been found earlier in some States in India. The E484Q strain was earlier detected in four sequences in Maharashtra in as early as March and July 2020. The N440K mutation has been reported on 13 different occasions between May and September 2020 in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. The current upsurge in Maharashtra cannot be attributed to the currently discussed point mutations.

However, the situation is being constantly monitored. As further scientific evidence emerges, it shall be duly shared.