As India continues to battle the pandemic, reports say a new variant of coronavirus has been identified in India at the National Institute of Virology(NIV) in Pune.

The mutated strain has been identified after genome sequencing and has been designated B.


According to the study, the new strain causes severe pneumonia including “pathological changes in lungs, vascular congestion, haemorrhages and interstitial septal thickening”.

The strain was reportedly identified after testing nasal and throat swabs of international passengers arriving from the UK and Brazil.

The report has been published by Biorxiv. According to the report, the new variant produces severe symptoms in patients which include weight loss, viral replication in the respiratory tract, lung lesions and severe lung pathology.

The traces from patients were taken from international travellers who had returned from the UK in December last year and from Brazilian travellers who had arrived in January this year.

The World Health Organisation had termed the Delta variant B.1.617, as a “variant of concern” which was reportedly responsible for the second wave of virus in India.

The Delta variant has also reportedly become the dominant strain in the UK. British health minister Matt Hancock had said that tests indicate double vaccination would protect people from serious effects of the Delta variant.

Matt Hancock added that the Delta variant was “around 40 per cent more transmissible”. Britain was earlier hit by the Alpha variant which had led to months of lockdown in the country.

Britain is set to lift major restrictions on June 21, however, the presence of Delta variant has left authorities worried as Hancock added that Delta variant “does make the calculation more difficult for June 21”.

The UK has vaccinated over 50 per cent of the adult population with both doses with 40 million people receiving one dose so far since the mass vaccination campaign was undertaken in the country in late December.