The Prime Minister’s Office in a statement on Saturday (October 17) said that two pan-India studies on the genome of the coronavirus suggest it is genetically stable and has shown no major mutation in India.
The PMO said, “Two pan-India studies on the Genome of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) in India conducted by ICMR and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) suggest that the virus is genetically stable and there is no major mutation in the virus.”
Mutation refers to the property of a virus to undergo changes when it multiplies and the virus may develop some new strains after it replicates. In cases, the new strains tend to be less effective and therefore die out soon, while more powerful strains may lead to faster spread of the virus.
Earlier it was reported that many experts were concerned that any major mutation in coronavirus could affect the development of an effective vaccine. But some recent studies have shown that mutations of coronavirus would not affect the effectiveness of the vaccines.
The PMO issued the statement shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on the Covid-19 pandemic situation, vaccine delivery, distribution and administration preparedness.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that three vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which two are in Phase II and one is in Phase-III.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in September had said that no significant mutations have been found in strains of SARS-CoV-2 in India till now.
Harsh Vardhan had also informed the media that a large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains collected over the past few weeks is already conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the results on mutations of the virus will be available in October.
The PMO statement also said that a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has prepared a detailed blueprint of vaccine storage, distribution, and administration.
The Expert Group, in consultation with states, is working actively on prioritisation and distribution of vaccines.