Srinagar, July 17: With Covid-19 becoming more infectious and lethal in Kashmir valley, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday warned of possible mutation of the novel coronavirus.
“Covid-19 is now behaving aggressively which gives us to understand that the virus has mutated,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Initially when the outbreak arrived at Kashmir valley, Covid-19 behaved very mildly and most patients who tested positive were asymptomatic,” he said.
“But, over the past few weeks the situation has taken a serious turn with large number of seriously-ill patients getting admitted in hospitals,” he added.
Dr Nisar said the sudden rise in cases and deaths could be because of new strain of Covid-19 that might have undergone mutation.
“Covid-19 like other viruses tend to mutate,” he said adding that “mutation is a change in virus that occurs when the virus replicates inside cells and mistakes are made in copying its genetic code.”
Dr Nisar said scientists around the globe have discovered several mutations of the virus.
“One significant mutation – named ‘D614G’ mutation was responsible for most infections in Europe and United States,” he said.
“The new dominant strain seems to infect humans more easily than the version of the virus that was present when the pandemic originated in China,” he added.
Dr Nisar said it is vitally important to identify the possible mutated strain and to determine whether it has an impact on the spread of the virus and the development of the disease.
He said the mutated version of the virus has implications.
“The PCR test which was developed for earlier strain may not detect the mutated strain because of genetic variation and we may have false negative results,” Dr Nisar said.
“The mutated virus could evade the effectiveness of the vaccine and enable the virus to become resistant to antiviral medication,” he said.